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Cornell University Library 
F 587B9 K42 

History of Buffalo County, Wisconsin / b 


3 1924 028 871 412 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 










Buffalo County, Wis. 
18 8a, 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1888, by 


In the 0£&ce of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 


When, about a year ago, I commenced work on the book, 
which now liei before the reader, I expected to present it much 
sooner to the public. It would be perfectly useless to enumerate any 
of the causes of the delay, but it is not to be denied that the book 
itself has unquestionably gained by it. Such as it is I commit it 
to the judgment of the readers, and beyond such apologies as have 
been made at different points for special reasons, I do not feel in- 
clined to make any further. 

The arrangement of the book is by topics. To i:)roceed by 
towns would have compelled much useless repetition, 'and would 
have narrowed the horizon of investigation and history. . In some 
cases that arrangement would have been impossible. A perusal 
of the index will in a very short time furnish the clue to every 
matter reasonably expected to be related in the book. 

Perfection is not claimed, but in justice it is to be supposed 
that I did the best I could under the circumstances. Not being 
myself an admirer of long preliminaries, it can not be my inten- 
tion to inflict any such upon my readers. 

To the many friends, who have contributed to the work, I 
have, in most cases given due acknowledgment and thanks at the 
particular points, in which they helped and encouraged me. If, 
as is still possible, any one should have been omitted, I hope he 
will pardon the oversight, which certainly was not intentional. 

Alma, Buffalo Co., Wis., Dec. 19. 1887. 

L. Kessingek. 





Table of dates when land came into market. 369 

Entries in Mineral Point 370 

La Crosse Land' Office 370 

Table of land and its value 375 

" of Grain products 378 

'.' Roots and Potatoes 382 

•" Beans and Peas and Sorghum 383 

Greatest Crops 384 

Table of Seeds 385 

" "Fruits 386 

" " Bees and Honey 387 

•' " Ciittle and Calves 389 

" " Dairy Products 390 

J' " Sheep, Lambs and Wool 391 

" "Hogs 392 

" " Horses and Mules 393 

" " Agricultural Employees 394 

County Fair 396 


Charities Public 519 

Crime... 516 

Statistics of 517 

Early Explorations 169 

Jean Nicolet 169 

Marquette and Joliet 174 

Louis Joliet 179 

Father Jaques Marquette S. J 180 



Louis Hennepin 183 

Daniel Greysolon Du Luth 195 

Captain Jonathan Carver 199 

Carver's Cave «. 204 

Carver's Grant , 204 

Forts on Lake Pepin 207 

Nicholas Perrot ' 208 

LeSueur 209 

Early Settlement ; ,211 

List of first settlers •* 216 

Education 424 

Superintendence at first 426 

" after 1861 427 

Report of 1855 and 56 428 

" " 1866 428 

" " 1876 428 

" " 1885 429 

" " 1886 ;.. 429 

Teachers of graded schools 430 

Schoolhouses 43 

Apparatus and furniture 433 

Employment of teachers 434 

Teachers' Institutes 437 

School visitation 439 

Earliest schools and their teachers 441 

Table of these 443 

Private schools 444 

Roman Catholic Schools 445 

Norwegian Lutheran Schools 445 

Other Protestant School 445 

Sunday Schools 446 

Art Education 446 

Graphic Arts 446 

Results 447 

Howard Library Association 449 

Literary Societies 449 

Reading Circle 450 

Educational Columns ^ 451 

vt INDEX. 


Earlier Marriages 483 

Early Settlers, list of 557 to 608 


Geology ■. 22 

Geological formation 22 

Geol. Report — Range Ten West 25 

Range Eleven West 26 

Twelve " 27 

" 'yiirteen " 28 

" Fourteen" 28 

Buffalo County ." 29 

Trempealeau Mountain 30 

Geological Formations 30 

Geol. Periods and Epochs 31 

Potsdam Sandstone 31 

Artesian Wells 33 

Lower Magnesian Limestone 33 

" Economical Products 34 

St. Peters Sandstone 35 

Galena Limestone 35 

Quarternary Formation 35 

Glacial Period 35 

Champlain Period 36 

Recent Period... 36 

Present changes 37 

Fall of Twelve Miles Bluff 38 

Iron Mines new 39 

'' " former 40 


Indian History 87 

DifiBculties 88 

Traders 89 

Missionaries 90 

Pronunciation and Translation 93 

Indians 96 

Algonquins 97 

Iroquois-Hurons 98 

Dakotas or Sioux 98 

INDEX. vn 

INDIANS (Contimied.) PAGE. 

Winnebagoes 98 

Indian Manner of Living 99 

Want of domestic animals 100 

■ Hunting and fishing 101 

Agriculture 102 

Canoe 103 

Tobacco 104 

Pipes 106 

Houses 109 

Clothing 112 

Family life 114 

Wyandot Government 116 

Civil government 117 

Its functions 119 

Crimes and punishments 121 

Outlawry 121 

Military government i 122 

Reflections 122 

Sickness and cures 123 

• Burial 125 

Burial of the Chieftain 126 

" " " Omaha Chief 127 

Mourning for the dead 129 

Wars 131 

Mode of fighting 133 

Fire arms 135 

Horses 136 

Prisoners 136 

Character of Indians 137 

Sign-language 140 

Upper Mississippi Confederations 141 

Winnebago Confederacy. 141 

Mound Buildees 73 

General remarks 73 

Capt Carver's description - 74 

From Randall's History of the Chippewa Valley 75 

Judge Gale's opinions 75 

vm INDEX. 


Indian Graves — 76 

From the work of J. P. McLean- .— - 78 

Reference to Scott's 'Antiquary 78 

Operations of David Wyrick --- 79 

Relics of Mound Builders - 80 

Origin of Mound Builders.... •- 82 

Addenda.. 85 

Opinions of Dr. P. R. Hoy — 85 

Manufactures... ■ 399 

Table of capital invested 401 

" " " continued 402 

" " flouring mills.... 404 

" " saw mills 406 

Wine - 407 

Table of breweries 408 

Cigars....- 409 

Iron and articles of it 409 

Leather and articles of it 410 

Wagons, carriages and sleighs. 4l0 

Creameries and Cheese factories _ :.. 410 

Other industries 411 

Map, remarks on 654 

Natural History 41 

Zoology 41 

Mammals 42 

Birds _ 43 

Summer Residents 43 

Winter residents 45 

Fishes 4g 

Amphibians 417 

Crustaceans _. ^o 

Insects _ iq 

Botany— Yhsinogamows. plants 54 

Partial List of fungi no 

Appendix of Cultivated plants.— A. Useful..... 66 

B. Ornamental />„ 




Organization. _ ___ 277 

Act of, Chapt. 100 Session 277 

Laws of 1853— Amending it Chapt. 1 279 

Session Laws' of 1854. — Act to organize Trempealeau 

County .._ ,.^ 280 

Act to divide La Crosse Co. and organize Monroe 

County ___ 280 

First election and voters _ 282 

County Board of Supervisors — 283 

Committees of the same.. _ 284 

First meeting 287 

Election of 1859 — - _ 293 

Contention about the county-seat - 294 

Change of County Board to Commissioners 298 

Return to the old system 318 

Sheriffs—. 318 

Clerks of County Board 319 

Treasurers 319 

Register of Deeds , 320 

District Attorneys , 320 

Clerks of Circuit Court 320 

County Superintendents 321 

County Surveyors 321 

Coroners 321 

County Judges 322 

Present County Officers 322 

Pioneers — Thomas A.Holmes 216 

Shakopee ..— - 217 

Chaska 227 

John Adam Weber. 228 

Henry Goehrke ... _ 229 

Andrew Baertsch 231 

Nicholas Leisch 231 

Christian Wenger _ 232 

■ Victor Probst - 233 

Joseph Berni 235 


PIONEERS (Continued.) PAGE. 

John Conrad Waecker 236 

Caspar Wild - - 237 

Madison Wright :.-. - 237 

General Remarks — 238 

Development of Towns . 239 

Political History 241 

Wisconsin Territory 246 

Governors of the same 249 

Secretaries" " " 250 

Legislative sessions 251 

Representation of Crawford County 252 

Hon. Jos. R. Brown 253 

Constitutional Conventions of Wisconsin 255 

State organization 256 

Sessions of Legislature 256 

Senators 260 

Assembly, members of 261 

Present apportionment 262 

State oflEicers 263 

Governors 263 

Lieutenant Governors 264 

Secretaries ofState 264 

State- Treasurers 264 

Attorneys General 265 

State Superintendents 265 

Supreme Court 266 

Circuit Court 266 

Educational Institutions 266 

Charitable, Reformatory and Penal Institutions 266 

State Board of Supervision 267 

United States Senators 267 

Representatives 268 

United States Court, Western District 268 

United States Government 269 

History of Politics 269 

Population 4J2 

Enumeration of 1885 ^jg 

Classification by nativity 4J3 


POPULATION (Continued.) PAGE. 

Table of Oensus since 1855 with percentage of in- 
crease 416 

Table of annual increase 417 

Character of population 418 

Society 420 

Press 452 

Historical notes 453 

Fountain City Beacon 454 

" " Advocate 454 

Buffalo County Advertiser 454 

Journal... "^455 

" " Republikaner 456 

" Herald 459 

Other papers 459 

English, German and Norwegian papers 460 

Public Health 477 

Public Health Laws 479 

Public Societies 494 

Turners 495 

At Buffalo City 495 

At Fountain City 496 

At Alma 496 

Shooting Societies 497 

at Alma 498 

" Fountain City 499 

West Wisconsin and Minnesota Schuetzenbund 500 

Singing Societies 602 

Concordia at Alma 503 

Arion of Beef River Valley -- 506 

Frohsinn of Alma 507 

Germania of Fountain City 507 

Harmonia" " " 608 

Harmonic of Waumandee 508 

Frohsinn of Lincoln 508 

Howard Library Society 509 

Pioneer Societies 510 

Old Settlers' Club of Modena 610 

Base Ball Clubs 511 

General Remarks 511 

xii INDEX. 


Eeligion. — Catholic Churches 461 

at Fountain City 461 

" Alma 462 

" Buffalo City 462 

" Waumandee 462 

" Montana , 462 

Glencoe 462 

. " Canton 464 

Protestant Churches 464 

Lutheran Congregations 464 

Lyster Norwegian 464 

Thompson Valley Norwegian' 465 

Bennett " " 465 

Naples Norwegian 466 

at Fountain City 466 

at Buffalo City 466 

at Lincoln 467 

at Waumandee 467 

at Glencoe 467 

Reformed Churches 467 

at Alma 467 

at Fountain City 467 

in Beef River Valley 468 

in Waumandee 468 

in Eagle Valley 468 

Churches at Mondovi 469 

Methodist Episcopal 469 

Baptist 4gg 

Congregational ""' ^^0 

Unitarian Church at Gilmanton 47O 

Churches etc. in Modena 4yj 

Evangelical Association 4/73 

at Alma 47Q 

" Belvidere ^yg 

" Montana ^yo 

" Waumandee ^y^ 

" Lincoln ' ^n^ 

" Fountain City .".' ' " ' ' a^a 

INDEX. xni 

RELIGION (Continued.) PAGE 

Church in Deer Creek Valley 474 

" on Beef Slough 475 

General Remarks 485 


Secret Societies ; 512 

Masons, -Alma Lodge : 512 

Odd Fellows, Steuben Lodge 513 

Grangers 513 

United Workmen^Fountain City Lodge 613 

Mondovi Lodge ; 513 

Alma " 514 

Grand Army of the Republic 514 

Fimian Post 514 

J. W. Christian Post 614 

Temperance Societies 614 

St. -Patrick's T A. S. of Waumandee and Glencoe 514 

Independent order of Good Templars 515 

Sunshine Lodge 515 

Knights of Pythias 515 

Mondovi Lodge ; 515 

Alma " 515 

Societies Public — See Public Societies. 

Soldiers 521 

of Mexican war 62J. 

of Late war 521 

Soldiers resident in but not furnished by BuffaloCo. 523 

Soldiers furnished by Buffalo Co 525 

1st Rgt. Cavalry 528 

2d " " 528 

6th Battery Light Art 630 

1st Rgt. Infantry 631 

3d " " 531 

5th " " : 531 

6th " " 532 

7th " " 536 

8th " " 636 

9th '• " 538 

10th " " 541 

xrv INDEX. 

SOLDIERS (Continued.) PAGE. 

12th Rgt. Infantry 541 

15th '^ " 541 

16th " ■' 541 

17th " " 541 

18th " " 542 

21st " " 542 

25th " " 542 

26th '• " 552 

34th " " 552 

35th " " 552 

36th " « 558 

40th " ' 653 

48th •' " 553 

49th " " 555 

50th " " 555 

Conclusion 556 

Supplementary list of resident soldiers 556 

Settlers Early list of 557 


Topography, 1 

Geometrical description 1 

Date of Survey 3 

Situation in Wisconsin ,„ 3 

" on the globe .._ 4 

" in Mississippi VaUey 4 

Tributaries to " River , .. 4 

Subsidiary streams 

1. To Chippewa River 4 

2. " Buffalo River ..'"'. . .".'..'.'.".'."".".'.'.'.' 7 

3. " Waumandee Creek 10 

4. " Trempealeau River 12 

Perpendicular Configuration ^ I4 

Climate -.0 

Transportation _ 00c 

First Steamboat oog 

Galena and Minnesota Packet Co 327 

.Seasons of Navigation at St. Paul 33I 

do. at Winona 000 



Diamond Jo Boats 333 

Steamer Lion 334 

" Robert Harris 334 

" Percy Swain 335 

Green Bay Railroad 335 

Chippewa Valley Road 336 

Stickney's Survey 337 

Winona, Alma & Northern 337 

Chicago, Burlington and Northern Time-Table 340 

Town Roads 341 

State Roads 341 

Improvements 342 

Graded Roads 343 

Immigrants' Travel 345 

Primitive Transportation 346 

Mail Service 347 

List of Postoffices 350 

Rafting 351 

Beef Slough Company 353 

First Drive 355 

Mississippi Logging Company , 358 

Pool or Chippewa Logging Company.... 358 

Situation of Camps 360 

Scalers' Reports , 360 

Organization of 9th Lumber Inspection District 360 

Appointment of Inspectors 361 

Working Organization on the Slough 361 

Earlier Rafting Exploits 364 

Towns, Introduction 609 

City of Alma - 611 

Town of Alma 618 

" " Belvidere 620 

City of Buffalo 623 

Town of Bufifalo 627 

" " Cross - — 629 

" " Dover 630 

Village of Fountain City 631 

Town of Gilmanton 636 


TOWNS (Continued.) PAGE. 

Town of Glencoe - 638 

" " Lincoln-- 639 

" " Maxville - 640 

'• " Milton : 642 

" '' Modena 643 

" " Mondovi ;...:. 644 

" " Montana 645 

" " Naples 647 

" " Nelson 649 

" " Waumandee ;: 650 



The county of Buffalo, in its present extent contains the fol- 
lowing Townships: 

Range 10, Township 24, full. 

23, do. 

22, do. 

21, do. 

" 20, fractional west of Trempealeau River. 

Range 11, 

Range 12, 

Range 13, 


do. and between Trempealeau 

and Mississippi River. 














East of Mississippi River. 










fractional. East of Mississippi River, 






full except Section 6, 




22, fractional, East of Mississippi River. 
21, do. 

" 20, do. 

Range 14, " 24, fractional. East of Chippewa River. 

23, do. do. 

" 22, fractional, East of Mississippi River. 
The whole area is equal to 690.5 square miles accounting sec- 
tions having fractions within, but boundaries full as whole, and 
sections fractional according to the area in acres put down on sur- 
veyors' maps. 

Hence we find: Township 24 = 149.796 sq. miles. 

23 =: 157.989 do. 
22 = 141.115 do. 
21 = 112.177 do. 
" 20= 77.662 do. 

" 19= 45.731 do. 

18= 6.048 do. 

Total 690.518 square miles. 
The county is widest on the line between Townships 23 and 
22 being there 27} miles or nearly so, and it runs to a point indi- 
cated by the junction of the Mississippi and Trempealeau rivers 
in Section 16, Township 18, Range 10; the northern boundary is a 
fraction less than 24 miles long there being only 28.50 chains of 
the northern boundary of Section 6, Township 24, Range 13, on 
the east side of the Chippewa River. All the Ranges in this 
county are West of the fourth principal meridian and all the 
Townships are North of the Wisconsin base line, which is identical 
with the southern boundary line of the state, that between Illinois 
and Wisconsin, situated in North latitude 42° 30'. The divisions 
mentioned in the above are those established by what is called 
the Government Survey, on which not only the calculation of 
areas but also the description of all lands, and the title to all real 
estate is primarily based. The subjoined table for which I am in- 
debted to General J. M. Rusk, now Governor of this state, who 
procured it for me from the General Lund Office in 1874, when he 
was a Member of Congress, shows when the land in this county 
was surveyed by order of the Government. 







Tp.'lS North 


1848 and 1849 

D. A. Spalding. 

" 18 

u ■ 

11 " 



-" 19 


10, 11, 12 



..." 20 


10, 11, 12, 13 



, '.' 21 


10, 11, 12 


John Ball. 

" 21 



1851 an4 1852 


" 22 


10, 11 



" 22 


12, 13 



" 22 




S. W. Durham. 

" 23 




John Ball. 

" 23 


11, 12 



" ^3 




S. W. Durham. 

" 23 





"■ 24 


10, 11, 12 

1852 . 

John Ball. 

" 24 




S. W. Durham. 

" 24 



1849 and 1850 



Buffalo County is situated iu; the. central western part of the 
state, r£),ther a little south of the central line which is in Towoship 
23 or a little north of the line of that Township. It is on the 
Mississippi River and extends along the same from the mouth of 
the Chippewa River to the mouth of the Trempealeau River. The 
Mississippi River separates it from the Counties of Winona and 
Wabasha in Minnesota, the Chippewa River on the western bound- 
ary from Pepin County and the Trempealeau River from Trem- 
pealeau County. ,'Jhe north line of Township 24 North is the' line 
between Pepin and Baffalo County from the Chippewa River to 
the line between Ranges 10 and 11 hence, to the line between 
Ranges 9 and 10 it Buffalo fronj Bau Claire County. The 
latter Range line divides Bufialo from Trempealeau County from 
the northeast, corner oi Township 24, Range 10, which is also ■ 
the northeast corner of the county south to the southeast corner 
of Township 21, wh^re it intersects with the Trempealeau River. 
From that point the Trempealeau River forms part of the bound-, 
ary down ,to the rnouth. In tl^e.same way does the Chippewa 
River form the wesitern boundary, of the county from Section 6,. 
Township 24, Range 13 to the mouth, of the river ia Section 4, 
Township 22, Range ,14. 



The 44th degree of North latitude runs through -the village of 
Trempealeau in the county of the same name and about 2 miles 
south of, but close enough to the most southern point of our 
county, to mark its geographical limit as to latitude. Hence there 
are 40 miles (approximately) to the northern boundary of the 
county, which, according 70 statute miles to one degree of latitude 
would be in about 44° 34' 17" of North latitude. As to longitude 
I find that longitude 92° West of Greenwich, England or 15° West 
of Washington, D. C, is about half a mile east of the line be- 
tween Range 13 and 14 and 91° 30' West of Greenwich = 14° 30' 
West of Washington is about one mile east of the straight eastern 
boundary line of this county. 


Buffalo County is in the upper part of the Mississippi Valley 
upon the left bank of the stream, immediately below the lower 
end of Lake Pepin, which point is almost identical with the mouth 
of the Chippewa River, extending down to the mouth of the 
Trempealeau River. All the drainage of the County goes directly 
or indirectly into the great river. The main tributaries from the 
county or its boundaries are: 

1. Chippewa River including Beef Slough; 

2. Bufifalo or Beef River; 

3. Eagle or Waumandee Creek; 

4. Trempealeau River. 

The subsidiary streams of the above tributaries are : 


a. Big Bear Creek joining the main stream above Durand 
in Pepin County, but having the most considerable of its head 
waters in this county and draining especially the greatest part of 
Township 24, Range 12 to the north the same Township being 
known as Canton. 

6. Upper Spring Creek coming from the northern part of 
Township 24, Range 13 flows west into Beef Slough. 

c. Little Bear Creek is formed by the confluence of the North 
Branch coming from the southwestern part of Township 24, Range 
12 flowing south, and the South Branch coming from the western 
part of Township 23, Range 12 (Modena) flowing north, either of 


which might be considered as the source of the creek. After 
uniting the creek flows west receiving but one considerable affluent 
from the north, but from the south it receives Norway Creek, 
Center Creek, and Cascade Creek; it flows into Beef Slough. 

d. Schaeublin's or Bygolly Creek from the western part of 
Township 23, Range 13 flows southwest into Beef Slough. 

e. Deer Creek from the northern part of Township 22, Range 
18 flows nearly south into Beef Slough. 

/. Lower Spring Creek from the center of the same Township 
flows west into Beef Slough. 

g. Iron Creek flows into the swamp or lake connected with 
Beef River at its confluence with Beef Slough. 

Before proceeding further on this part of our work we will 
consider the Chippewa River as far as it forms one of the natural 
boundary lines of our county, and Beef Slough which is in fact 
the eastern branch of the river and may have been in ancient times 
the main branch of it. 

A look upon the map annexed to this description will satisfy 
us, that the current of the Chippewa has in the northern part of 
Section 1'2, Township 24, Range 14 an apparent tendency to enter 
into Beef Slough and that the so-called main channel sets ofi at 
almost a right angle from the center line of the stream above. 
There is no rock or hill at the division point, and it is therefore 
a surprise that this abrupt turn in the river ever took place. It 
is not the intention of the author to speculate on the causes 
underlying that fact, and if in a subsequent part of the book a 
rather apocryphal anecdote should be-giyen, which might show 
that even in modern times at certain stages of the water Beef 
Slough at its head has been taken for the main stream, we do not 
want to have that picked up as an argument. 

This departure from its general course is maintained by the 
main Chippewa for little more than half a mile, when after another 
rather abrupt turn, it returns to its former direction flowing about 
twelve miles nearly south, deviating but three miles west in that 
distance. On its right bank it is closely hemmed in by precipitous 
bluffs, and if now and then a valley cuts in to- westward from the 
river, it is still considerably above the stream, even where it ad- 
joins it. The only subsidiary entering the river from the right 


bank during this long run is Plum Creek, which comes from Pierce 
Courity. On the left bank is the delta between the River and Beef 
Slough known by the, common name of the Chippewa Bottoms. 
The only considerable offset from the river on that side is Little 
Beef Slough, running southeast into main Beef Slough through 
sections 23, 24, 25 and 26 of Township 24, Range 14. 

Beef Slough is a branch of the Chippewa River setting off 
from the main channel at the turn in section 12 above mentioned. 
I,t then pursues, though with considerable meanderings and 
numerous sharp turns, a general southern course, never getting out 
of the eastern range of sections until down to the Township line 
between Townships 23 and 22, Range 14 when it enters upon 
Township 22 at the southeast corner of Section 2 still continuing 
south to the corner of Sections 1, 2, 11 aiid 12 when Perrin or Par- 
rain Slough sets off to the west, while Beef Slough begins to take 
a general southeastern direction, which it keeps, with some deviat- 
ions and many turns, until its confluence with Beef River a short 
distance above the entrance of the latter into the Mississippi. It 
would be difficult to decide from a study of the maps, which of the 
many sloughs laid down in Township 22, Ranges 14 and 18 west, 
was at the time of the survey (see table) considered the main 
slough, if. indeed, the matter received any particular considera- 
tion. At present the one Used for driving logs from Plat Bar to 
the rafting works is indisputably entitled to the preference. A 
number of points or localities along the Slough have received 
ternporary names, invented and applied by the men working along 
the Slough, for their own convenience and mutual information,' 
and communicated to the people living in the neighborhood. In 
the discussion of the history of the Beef Slough Company, and 
the development of the rafting business and its connections or 
relations to other industries these names may become significant 
and be employed. Beef Slough unites with Beef or Buffalo River 
in Section 26, Township 22, North of Range 13 West, and their 
united waters join the Mississippi River in Section 34 of the same 
Township near the quarter section corner between Sections 34 and 
35. This part of the Slough or River is navigable for good sized 
stern v?heel steamboats which are employed as raft tugs or push- 
ers. In Section 21 there is a so-called cut-off by which such 


boats may pass between the Slough and the Mississippi in the 
stages of high or even medium: wa,terj which has been used during 
the season of navigation by the steamer Lion from Wabasha, (a 
ferry boat carrying the mail and furnishing communication .be- 
tween Wabasha, Beef Slough and Alma.) 


While it may be of no consequence; ir^ regard, . to other rivers 
in or about this county, it is necessary for an understanding of 
some historical events to ti-ace this river from its bead waters; or 
sources to, its mouth. Older maps use the name of Buffalo Eiver, 
newer or more special ones call it Beef River, which latter appel- 
lation is the one in common use among the inhabitants of .this and 
the adjoining counties of Trempealeau and Jackson. The sourxies 
or headquarters of this riyer are in Township 24 North of Range 
5 West of the fourth principal meridian, where it appears as a 
south and a north fork. The source of the south fork is about one 
quarter of a mile east of 91° West longitude, that of the north fork 
some two or three miles farther east. Which is considered the 
main channel or branch I do not know, but both join in Section 
10, Township 24, Range 7, West at or near the present village of 
Osseo. From there the river flows in a general western d,irection, 
and enters this county in Section 12, Township 24, Range 10, from 
which point it continues its general western course down to the 
present village of Mondovi, which is located at the corner of Sec^ 
tioris 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Township 24, Range 11. The river flows 
south of, but close by the plateau on which the village is situated, 
but from, that point it starts on its new course southwest to its 
junction with Beef Slough and finally the Mississippi. Ou its 
right bank it is closely followed by a range of hills and little 
plateaus, on the left bank the valley is usually wider, the. hills 
more distant and more accessible. Grassy lowlands, sometimes 
swamps, are along it, but more of them on the left than on the 
right bank. This river is not navigable, though for a venture 
loaded flatboats may have descended it from Mondovi at a favor- 
able stage of water. There are no meander points put down on 
the government survey maps, until the river enters Township 22, 
Range 13 about four miles above its mouth, from which pqint it 
seems to have been considered navigable by the surveyors. Of its 
affluents I will but mention those which enter it in this county. 


A. From the Right Bank. 

a. Silver Creek, the only affluent from the north in Range 
10 comes from the southern half of Township 25 in the same range, 
flows nearly south about three miles. 

b. Hoyt's Creek, into which Bond's Creek flows from the 
east near the line between this and Eau Claire County, flows 
southwest uniting with Hunter's Creek, which flows about two 
miles west of it directly south to the place now occupied by the 
millpond, where in by-gone times it must have formed a natural 
pond and waterfall. It is about six miles long and flows through 

c. Farrington's Creek. It originates in the southeastern part 
of Township 24, Range 12, and flowing north is joined by Dutch 
Creek, coming from the opposite direction, and after receiving 
some other affluents from the other side, flows in a southeastern 
direction into the river, through a depression between the plateau 
of Mondovi and adjoining hills. 

d. Oilman's Creek much smaller, without any affluent, comes 
out of the hills about eight miles south of the former. Its general 
course is south and its length about three miles with a wide valley. 

e. Brown's Creek takes its start at the quarter section corner 
in the town line of Section 3, Township 23, Range 12, flows through 
that section south, but afterwards southeast, it has a cascade of 40 
feet made use of for a mill. It has a length of about six miles 
and flows in its upper part through tamarack and other swamps. 
The valley is wide and undulating, and there are some tributaries. 

/. Jensen's Creek in the lower part of Township 23, Range 
12, flows about one mile south and then about two miles east 
entering the river in Section 35. 

g. Pine Creek rises in the southwest part of the same town 
as the former and flows for the most part through a narrow valley 
the slopes of which are, with few exceptions, steep. It took its 
name from a cluster of pines on a high and almost perpendicular 
rock at the place where once it broke through the hillb and now 
enters upon the river bottoms. 

h. Trout Creek comes from some springs and a small swamp 
near the quarter section corner in the northern line of Section '2 
Township 22, Range 13 and flows in a general southeastern direct 


tion for a distance of about five miles. The slopes of the valley 
are steep and close to the creek in the upper part of its course, 
but in the middle and lower course the hills recede and the creek 
runs in a narrow marshy bottom, while between that and the hills 
terraces intervene, which slope gradually up towards the steeper 
part. The creek received its name from the abundance of trout it 
contained during the earlier times of the settlement. 
B. Prom the left bank. 

a. Rossman's Creek rises in Tremp.ealeau County in Town- 
ship 24, Range 9 and flows northwest for about five miles. The 
valley of this and the creeks next following are comparatively 
wide and undulating, the higher hills being at the heads of the 

6. Fifteen Creek so called because it flows through Section 
Fifteen, Township 24, Range 10, about two and one half miles long, 
course northwest. 

c. Adams' Creek, about one mile west of the last named, 
resembles it in all other respects. 

d. Pettingil's Creek has its headwaters among the swamps 
and springs in the southwestern part of the township, where the 
hills are steep and the valleys narrow. Its course is more directly 
north, than that of the foregoing, and its length about four miles. 

e. Dillon's Creek is but two miles long and runs through an 
undulating valley north. From this we corne to no tributary for 
almost six miles, but this tributary we find entering into the river 
in Section 16, Township 23, Range 11, is the most considerable of 
all tributaries of Beef River in this county. Its name is Elk 
Creek. The main branch of this creek takes its rise in Section 2 
of Township 22, Range 10, flows north for about three miles thence 
west northwest until it is joined by the other large branch, which 
is usually called Bennett Valley Creek its strongest affluent. 

Bennett Valley Creek rises in Sect. 1, T. 23, R. 10, flows west 
for about four miles, when it turns southwest and after a course 
of about two miles joins Elk Creek in Sect. 18 of said township. 
The main branch has one affluent of an unknown name from the 
east, another called Eads' Creek from the same direction, one 
Mower's Creek from the north, and finally Three Mile Creek from 
the south, each of which is equal to any of the tributaries named 
for Beef River under a, h, c, d and e in this division. 


The stream from its junction with its north fork (Bennett Val- 
ley Creek) continues west, receiving Hadley's Creek, on the right 
Erskine and Bailey's Creek on the left side. The valleys of the 
main branch and of most of the different affluents are compara- 
tively wide, bordered on the north, east and south by high hills 
or bluffs, from which spurs are running in different directions, and 
by those the surface of the country is somewhat cut up and 

g. Hutchison Creek is divided from Elk Creek by a high 
ridge, one of the spurs last mentioned, which extends in a nearly 
western direction to within half a mile of the main river. This 
Creek rises in Sect. 35, Township 23, Range 11 and receives its 
only affluent at the southwest corner of said section, from which 
point it flows nearly west through a narrow strip of marshy 
meadow, which is bordered on the right wde by the foot of the 
bluffs, and on the left by a strip of prairie land nearly level up 
to the hilis. 

h. Huett's and Nething's Creeks are small and short. 

i. Wenger's Creek coming from Sect. 28, Township 22, Range 
12 is also not over two miles long and flows nearly northwest with 
a rolling valley. 

j. Mill Creek has two branches, one from the east and one 
from the north, whose valleys are narrow and short. They unite 
above the millpond and after coming out of it the creek flows out 
into the level bottoms of the river. 

In the above descriptions, as well as in those which may fol- 
low, it will- be noticed that some creeks are named after persons, 
usually after the first, or else some prominent one of the earliest 
settlers. Whether or not these names will be continued in use, 
we know not, but they designate to the present generation the ob- 
jects named and also some local points of history. Where other 
names are given their origin if known, is mentioned. The maps, 
even those of the original government survey, are not always reli- 
able, but as no person can know the exact location of every spot, 
they are, of course, the only thing to rely on for the purpose of 
description and location. 


I find in the map before me, taken from the Atlas of Wiscon 
sin, that this creek is called a river, but knowing, as I do, that the 


people living alonggide of it call it always " the creek," I shall do the 
same, although there may be other streams of no greater magni- 
tude, which are locally designated as rivers. I shall also consider 
Little Waumandee Greek as an affluent or tributary. The terri- 
tory drained by this stream and its tributaries or affluents is en- 
tirely, withm our county, and although the main valley is wide, yet 
the hills surrounding the whole basin are high and steep. The 
main creek rises in Sect, 4, Township 22, Range 10, from which 
place it flows south about two miles, thence it turns and flows 
southwest until joined by the Little Waumandee Creek from 
which place it assumes a general southern course to its junction 
with Mississippi, in Sect. 8, Township 19, Range 11. Its tribut- 
aries are: 

A. On the right bank. 

a. Lee's Creek, from the west short and very small. 

b. Schachuer's Creek, yising in some springs in* Sect. 12, 
Township 22, Range 11, flowii^g south about two miles. 

c. Little Waumandee Creek rising in a spring in Sect. 21, 
Township 22, Range 11. Its upper course is sometimes dried up 
and for nearly a mile uncertain. At first it flows for about two 
miles southwest, and then turning into a southern course, which 
it continues until near its mouth, where for about half a mile it 
flows nearly east, turning south again for a short distance. It has 
a number of very small affluents, of which Schmidt's Creek from, 
the West is the most considerable joining it in Sect. 36, Township 
21, Range 12, and Mattausch Creek from Sect. 20, Township 22, 
Range 11. Its next and moot important affluent is Jahn's Creek, 
which comes from Sect. 22, Township 22, Range 11, entering into , 
the larger creek, in Sect. 1, Township 21, Range 12, so near the 
line between Ranges 11 and 12 that it is difficult to decide about 
the matter. About one and a quarter miles farther down it re- 
ceives its last affluent, Wilk's Creek from the west near the quarter 
section comes in the east side of Sect. 12. It receives no further 
affluent but joins the larger stream in Sect. 29, Township 21, 
Range 11. 

d. Keith's Creek comes from Section 24, Township 21, Range 
12, is about 2 miles long and joins in Sect. 31 in the range ea;st of 
the former. ' ' 

e. Schmidt's Creek, fiom the west is very short and small. 


/ Suhr's Creek, just like the former. 

g. Berg's Creek, about the same. These are all the affluents 
from the right bank. 

B, From the left bank. 

a. The first and quite a considerable one is Danuser's Creek, 
which has its rise in a number of springs that unite in Sect. 28, 
Township 22, Range 10. It flows nearly west for about five miles 
and enters in Sect. 36, Township 22, Range 1 1 . Danuser's Creek 
has a number of little affluents and, correspondingly the valley 
has sidevalleys, through some of which roads are "leading toward 
Arcadia and Trempealeau Valley in general. 

b. Irish Creek, received its name from the circumstance of 
people of that nationality settling there in considerable numbers 
early in the history of the county. The creek comes from Section 
21, Township 21, Range 10, and flows in a general western direc- 
tion, entering the Waumandee Creek in Sect. 15, Township 21, 
Range 11. This creek has one considerable branch which comes 
from a more northern direction and joins it in the lower course. 

c. Schoepp's Creek comes from Sect. 26, Township 21, Range 
11, and flows in a southwestern direction in a narrow valley of 
about four miles in length. 

d. The little runs from Oak Valley and from Tracutlein's 
Valley are of but small importance. The valleys are short and 

e. Eagle Creek. The western branch of this creek comes 
from Sect. 31, Township 21, Range 10 and flows southwest, and 
afterwards south to Sect. 15, Township 20, Range 11, where it re- 
ceives the eastern branch, which rises in Sect. 6, Township 20, 
Range 10. Prom their junction the creek flows nearly south to 
Sect. 33 of the same township and range, from which it flows 
nearly west to Waumandee Creek, joining it" in the upper part of 
what is now designated as the mill pond. The further course of 
Wailmandee Creek is short and terminates as before related. 


The basin of the Trempealeau River is mostly outside of this 
county. There are however a few small streams coming from the 
eastern part of the town of Montana which join larger streams 
flowing to the river. From about the southeast corner of Town- 


ship 21, Range 10, this river forms the boundary line between our 
county and that of Trempealeau to its tjonfluence with the Missis- 
sippi in Sect. 15, Township 18, Range 10, almost south of the 
point where it enters upon the boundary and about 15 miles from 
it in a straight hne. It is, of course, very much more by the 
meanders of the river. With the exception of the first one, the 
affluents from this county are small and, in general short, though 
there is a bottom of meadows on our side, between them and the 
liver; the hills are mostly high and steep. All the tributaries to 
Trempealeau River from this county are from right bank and are: 

a. Muir's Creek. A number of small streams uniting in 
Sect. 14, Township 21, Range 10 form this creek. From the con- 
fluence of said streams the creek flows nearly south, without re- 
ceiving any considerable addition and falls into the river in the 
northeast quarter of Sect. 2, Township 20, Range 10. 

h. Cowie's Creek. This creek is formed by two small streams 
in Sect. 35, Township 21, Range 10, flowing from there southeast 
about \\ miles into the river. 

c. Grover's Creek, from Sects. 13 and 24, Township 20, Range 
11 flows southeast about 3 miles. 

d. Heutges's Creek, from two smaller ones in the western 
part of Section 32, Township 20, Range 10, runs nearly east about 
li miles. 

e. Bohri's Creek, according to the map an affluent of the 
former, but only in its lowest course, is probably somewhat larger 
and combines from a number of smaller streams, which unite in 
Sect. 5, Township 19, Range 10. 

/. Piper's Creek, is the last tributary to this river from our 
county and flows from Sect. 20, Township 19, Range 10, about 3 
miles southeast, between very steep hills. There are a small num- 
ber of short streams which flow to the Mississippi or into some 
side slough directly. Of these we might name Stein's Creek in , 
the southwestern part of Township 21, Range 12 and Raetz's Creek ; 
about a mile below the actual village of Fountain City, but within j 
that corporation. The enumeration of all those tributaries and 
affluents may seem superfluous to some of the actual residents of; 
this county, but it will remind them of some things, which they ' 
may have had before their eyes without taking interest enough. 
in them to form any accurate conception of them, as I know from 

14 TOPdGRAPllY. 

experience with a great many. To those not residing here, the 
description of the water courses will give the only foundation for 
a mental picture of the surface of our county, since between these 
lines of drainage the elevations are situated. It is, of course, to 
be regretted, that the outlines and slopes of the hills are not re- 
presented in the map, but so far nobody has undertaken the task 
of this delineation. Persons capable of doing this work are scarce 
anywhere, but much more so in a new country, where even those 
who could do this, are compelled to make their living by other 
occupations. From the horizontal configuration of the country 
we pass naturally to the 


By this we mean the differences in level of different points 
and situations. As intimated in the description of the water- 
courses, we find a great number of valleys, some of which are 
wide and rather undulating in their surfaces while some of their 
side valleys are narrow, deserving very often in their remote parts 
the name of ravines rather than of valleys. This indicates that 
there are hills with steep slopes between the valleys. We find 
the surface of the county very rough or interrupted, but we have, 
nevertheless no mountains. No elevation in the county reaches 
beyond a height of 500 feet above the level of the adjacent plain or 
of the surface of the Mississippi river. But this ascent falls in 
most cases within the distance of one fourth of a mile or less, 
measured perpendicular to the trend of the slope. Considering 
the average elevation 450 feet, it would require a uniform rise of 
4 inches in every foot for 1,350 or 30 feet more than a quarter of a 
mile == 33i per cent, or so many feet rise for every 100 feet hori- 
zontal distance. 

The slopes of our hills are no more uniform than those of 
others, and so we find many places where it is difficult to climb 
them. On the bank of the Mississippi river especially, and along 
the alluvial deltas called bottoms, the hills present a very bold 
and in many places perpendicular or otherwise inaccessible front, 
probably suggesting for them the name of Blufls, which, accord- 
ing to Webster's definition, means: A high bank presenting a 
steep front; a high bank almost perpendicular projecting into the 
sea; a description which will fit exactly if we substitute the word . 


"plain" for the word "sea." Our valleys are the result of ero- 
sion. Whether this erosion is entirely due to the continual action 
of heat and cold, of rain and snow, is not very easily determined, 
and I shall in the article on the geology of our region take occa- 
sion to express and justify my own opinion on this matter. This 
erosion has been going on for ages and still continues. The intro- 
duction of agriculture has facilitated this process of erosion by 
depriving the slopes of timber and by loosening the ground for 
the reception of the seed. Whether or not the denudation of the 
slopes has been carried on recklessly and too far, is another consi- 
deration, but our observation confirms the statement above made. 
There are few fields and pastures on hillsides, that are not torn by 
fissures made by accumulating surface water, sometimes in a few 
hours. One of the results of this erosion are those deltas or bot- 
toms, some of which lie between the bluff and the Mississippi 
and extend irregularly along Beef Slough between it and the Chip- 
pewa and Mississippi down to Alma, where the river, for the first 
time within the county comes close to the foot of the bluff, flow- 
ing parallel to it about li miles, when it turns off at an angle of 
about 60° to the southwest. Below the turn these bottoms begin 
again and continue without much interruption down to Fountain 
City, where the river again approaches the foot of the bluff for a 
distance of IJ miles. It does not deflect so much, nor for so great 
a distance as in the former case, as it returns to the bluff about 4 
miles below Fountain City, for the last time in this county. The 
greatest width of the Chippewa and Beef Slough bottoms is at or 
near the line between Townships 22 and 23 where the distance is 
about 5 miles, measured from the foot of the bluff. The bottoms 
between Alma and Fountain City are widest in Township 20, 
Range 12, where they may average 3 miles. From Fountain City 
to the mouth of the Trempealeau river the bottoms seldom exceed 
a mile in width. The confluence of the Trempealeau gave occa- 
sion for a large delta or bottom to form along and between the 
hills on the north ^d those on the south side and the Mississippi, 
which may be considered as belonging to either the one or the 
other of the two rivers. 

The formation of these bottoms out of the soil carried off in 
the neighborhood is easily understood. Even now those bottoms 


are submerged at high water. In times long past there were large 
eddies in their places and in these eddies were deposited the fine 
materials which had remained afloat in the turbulent waters, and 
which could not have come very far, as they would in case of be- 
ing coarse have been deposited before they reached these spots. 
In this way the prairies between bluffs and bottoms were first 
formed when the waters rose much higher and staid longer than 
in historic times. It is very seldom that the water now cuts off 
communications between different parts of the prairies, but I re- 
member that only by erecting dams considerable parts of Sects. 16, 
15 and 22, Township 20, Range 12 were saved from inundation, 
at high water both in the spring and in the fall at different times. 
After the prairies the islands were formed. Islands is the name 
given to these bottoms or their parts for the reason, that some of 
these parts are always, others at ordinary, and another set only at 
high water, surrounded by the sloughs, which in some oases, are 
wide and in some even navigable at a season of abundant water, 
while in most cases they are nothing but shallow, and often dry 
channels. At very high water but little land remains visible, and 
it is only indicated by trees, where islands used to be. The legal 
status of these islands, deltas, or bottoms is swamp lands or over- 
flowed lands. These and the immediate banks of Beef and Trem- 
pealeau rivers are the only level Jands in the county. 

If it should be our intention to trace the principal ranges of 
hills and to subdivide them according to their height, massiness, 
or extent, it must be confessed that this would be an intricate, 
and very perplexing enterprise. One of the reasons for this is 
that the surface on the top of the hills, though not exactly level, 
presents so many similarities, or repetitions in its features, that 
distinction becomes difficult. We can nevertheless follow the 
principal groups. The lower group of bluffs extends from the 
confluence of Waumandee and Eagle Creeks down along the Mis- 
sissippi and its sloughs to the Trempealeau bottoms a distance of 
about ten miles, then between the streams flowing to the Trem- 
pealeau and those flowing into Waumandee Creek; branching off 
into spurs between the different smaller streams, it takes a decided 
turn towards the west in the northern part of Township 22 north 
of Range 10 West swinging round the source of Big Waumandee- 


Creek and separating the waters flowing to Beef River from those 
flowing to the creek. The line between Townships 22 and 23 runs 
mostly on this ridge of bluffs, until it comes down between Sec- 
tions 4 and 5 in Range 11. The bluffs separating Little Wau- 
mandee from Beef River Valley take a general southwestern trend 
and finally reach the Mississippi River near Alma, from which 
they continue southeast towards Fountain City, the high chain 
only once interrupted at the opening of the Waumandee Valley. 
This valley is an irregular basin with a rim of about three or four 
hundred feet. There are but very few places affording a com- 
paratively easy ingress or egress. The divisions between the 
tributary valleys are equally marked and the only interruption is 
at the mouth. Prom the northeast turn of this rim the bluffs set 
off to the north in the eastern part of Range 10 dividing in this 
extension the valley of the Trempealeau from that of the Beef 
River and in a west«?ard extension through the northern tier of 
sections of the Township 22, Ranges 10 and 11 into 12. This 
might be called the southern or perhaps more properly eastern, 
bluff system for its trend as a whole is towards the North, and it 
is on this body of bluffs that in earlier times a road was laid out 
from Fountain City to Eau Claire, following the main chain of the 
bluffs until the northeastern turn of the Waumandee rim was. 
reached when it soon descended into a ravine, and thence into the 
valley of Elk Creek. 

A northwestern, or northern and western group of bluffs 
might in a similar way be recognized, the east side of which lies 
more or less closely along the west bank of the Beef River and is 
only occasionally indented by narrow erosion valleys. In some 
. places the foundation rock crops out perpendicularly, but in most 
others this rock is. covered by the overlying drift. The north side 
of this group extends from the turn of the Beef River from its 
western to its southern course near Mondovi almost due west to 
the Chippewa River. The west side lies some times closely, some 
times more distant along Beef Slough and has a trend to the 
north with a swing to northeast near the Chippewa, by which 
swing it comes to a junction with the north side the whole mass 
being r oughly triangular. The only baisins of local importance 
that might be said to be 'enclosed within this group are that of 
Brown's Creek and that of Little Bear Creek, the heads of which 


are only separated by a steep and high spur. This seems to be 
sufficient for a general idea of the elevations cpvering the surface 
of our county and running as watersheds between our streams. 

In close connection with topography, as being dependent 
upon latitude on one side, and the situation on a continent and 
the presence or absence of mountains on the other hand, we must 
consider the 


In regard to latitude we are so nearly situated in the middle 
between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle, that our 
climate should most nearly answer to the general description of 
the temperate zone, exhibiting no extremes either of heat or cold. 
But in fact it is remarkable for just these extremes, rather than 
for its moderation. Situated between the 44th and 45th degree 
of North latitude, the same as the southern part of France and 
the northern of Italy, we experience the cold of the countries 
bordering on the Baltic Sea and a heat exceeding that of Italy. 
Our lakes and rivers are annually frozen for several months, and 
our hot season is but seldom less than three months in duration. 
Between 40 and 50 degrees below zero are not very often reached 
in winter time, but they do occur; so 100 degrees above zero in 
the shade in summer time. Our climate is as much remark- 
able for sudden changes, as for extremes of degree. A rain in 
summer is usually accompanied by a perceptible reduction of 
temperature, and our winters seldom pass without several thaws, 
often occuring in the months which we must consider the coldest 
ones. The severity of our winters is so much more surprising, as 
we are not so far above the level of the sea as to find in our eleva- 
tion a cause for this experience. According to Lapham the 
mouth of the Black River is only 683, Lake Pepin 714 feet above 
sea level, an insignificant elevation, as far as the difference of 
climate is concerned. We must, therefore, look to other causes 
which influence our climate. We find them in the total absence 
of large bodies of water in our immediate neighborhood, and of 
lateral mountain chains farther north. If there was a vast chain 
of mountains extending east and west, or nearly so, where the 
so-called plateau or height of land lies, on the divide or watershed 
between the system of Arctic rivers ^nd that of the Mississippi, 
we would probably enjoy a climate similar to that of the valley of 


the river Po in northern Italy at the southern foot of the Alps. 
There would be some difference, inasmuch as our climate would 
even then be a continental one, unafifected by seas or oceans. Our 
climate is actually a continental one in all its faults and merits. 
Aniong the merits of it we may certainly mention the salubrity, 
which it possesses in spite of its sudden changes and occasional 
extremes of heat and cold. Chmatic diseases, that is such as pre- 
vail regularly at certain seasons of the year, are almost unknown 
here. Those which are incident to sudden changes are frequent, 
but not very often serious. One of the great disadvantages di- 
rectly traceable to the peculiarities of our climate is the impos- 
sibity of raising fruits, with the exception of the smaller ones. I 
am only stating this as a fact. Of trees bearing the larger and 
finer fruits of a more genial climate, such as apples, plums, peaches 
and pears, only apple trees are a comparative success, and even 
those very seldom attain a long life, or a desirable size. Pear trees 
have for a short time been known to bear fruit, but most kinds of 
them are winter-killed during the first season after planting. 
Grapes of wild kinds are spmetimes abundant, but the cultivated 
species are in danger of frost late in spring or early in the fall. 
These frosts are very capricious in making their appearance, and 
although it is often jocularly remarked, that it will not be quite 
as cold on the Fourth of July as in winter, I have nevertheless 
seen the leaves on the oaks and other trees, and the corn and other 
tender plants bitten by frost on that very same day. 

It is to be regretted that there are no published records of the 
temperature as observed at stated times within this county, and 
that we can only speak of it in general terms. We* are in about 
the same predicament in regard to the other meteorological condi- 
tions, the prevailing winds, the amount of precipitation, the fre- 
quency of electrical disturbances, the rise and fall of the baro- 
meter, and similar items. Our prevailing winds are westerly; 
easterly winds are rare in summer, but northeast winds less so in 
winter, at which season they are almost always accompanied by 
heavy snowfall. Northwest winds always reduce the tempera- 
ture, southwest winds are apt to raise it, but in winter there are 
some exceptions, at least if we judge by our feeling alone. 
Thunder-storms are in some summers more frequent than in 
.others, but they are usually not of yery long duration. Now and 


then they are vehement, both in the discharge of electricity, and 
the accompanying rain. Precipitation, consisting of rain, dew 
and snow, according to season, is quite variable, but usually not 
excessive. Some of our summers are dry, very few are actually 
wet, and rain continues but seldom bepond the time of two days. 
Dews are often heavy and in their season regular, their intermit- 
tance may often be relied on as a sign for rain. Of our seasons 
spring is usually rather wet, with a short dry spell, while fall is 
almost uniformly dry, though exceptions to that are not excluded, 
of which the fall of 1881 was a most notable one in this d'ecade. 
The floods in the Mississippi river do not depend on the rains in 
our own locality, but on those to the northwest and northeast of 
us; but these rains have a natural connection with our own, and 
we may therefore say that the floods or rises have. The spring 
rise or flood begins soon after the breaking up of the ice and con- 
tinues until May. It is probably the result of the melting of the 
winter's snow, accelerated by occasional showers. The second 
regular rise is called the June rise, though it sometimes begins 
earlier than in that month, and occasionally continues beyond it. 
At present it is often a mere dejusion. Fall rises are of rare oc- 
curence, but I know that they may occur in consecutive years. This 
happened, for instance, in 1869 and 1870, but is certainly excep- 
tional. The phenomenon called a cyclone has visited our county 
but very little, although some damage has been done by it. The 
earliest I remember to have seen traces of must have occurred 
about 1866 or 1867, and ran across the Elk Creek Valley in the 
town of Dover in a northern direction. Its path was about one- 
eighth of a mile wide and marked by the trees twisted almost out 
of the ground or denuded of branches and leaves. The last one 
swept over the northern part of the county, unroofing houses and 
barns, lifting buildings from their foundations and tearing down 
fences and other feeble constructions. It did the compaiatively 
greatest damage in the northern Spring Creek Valley, containing 
Sections 7, 8 and 9 of Township 24, Range 13, where it struck the 
new school house of district No. 2 of the Town of Maxville and 
demolished it entirely. The old log school house close by shared 
the same fate, although it was a low and heavy building. 

After having considered our climate in general we may say 
something of the variations observed in different parts of the 


county. These variations depend entirely on local conditions. 
They are more perceptible in summer than at any other season, 
although some of them are observed at all seasons. In regard to 
temperature the places along the Mississippi enjoy some advan- 
tages over places farther from the river. There is more circula- 
tion of air and a greater uniformity of temperature. This may 
be ascribed to the width and uniform trend of the valley, and 
also to the amount of evaporation constantly going on upon the 
whole surface of the river. Frosts late in spring and early in the 
fall prove very often severe and destructive in the narrow valleys 
among the bluffs and upon the lands bordering on Beef River, 
while little or no damage is done along the Mississippi. The same 
impunity being observed, though in a less degree, upon, the 
cleared lands on the bluffs, it can only be ascribed to the stronger 
motion of the air, and the advantage of the river localities over 
those on the bluffs must be due to the rising vapors which com- 
municate some of their latent heat to the objects with which they 
come in contact. The northern, especially the northeastern part 
of the county being open and perhaps from one to two hundred 
feet above points on the Mississippi, has, on the whole, a tempera- 
ture similar to that observed on the bluffs. But in the absence of 
figures based upon actual and correct observations we must be 
content to state that the variations of temperature in different 
parts of the county are, though not imperceptible, yet not very 
important. As the other changes are dependent on temperature, 
at least to a considerable degree, we may dismiss them with the 
same remark. 



There are a few difficulties confronting me in the geological 
description of this county, which I would rather candidly state 
in the very beginning, than leave to the reader to surmise in the 

1. I am not a very deep geologist, for although I have read 
considerably on the subject, and have occasionally tried to apply 
the information thus acquired, I never had time to make this a 
special study. Hence some of the petrifacts or fossils which I 
have come in possession of, or found in other collections, have 
tended to shake some of the theories, that I had formed and so I 
find myself in a state of doubt, when I am required to be posi- 

2. There being no mines, and up to time but few artesian 
wells, nor competent scientific observations on the boring of the 
latter, I submit, that the chances for reliable observations are not 
very extensive, and but little of our supposed knowledge is ac- 
quired by actual investigation. 

3. While it might be comparatively easy to follow the 
example of others, and to make a bold display of scientific names, 
and leave it to the reader to get through it as well as he might, I 
consider this course rather unfair, as it seems to discourage most 
persons from further investigations in this matter. But I confess 
that it is not so very easy to write plain and popular, probably 
because people of plain common sense have left such matters too 
much to those who were in the habit of using scientific terms, 
because these terms were to themselves perfectly clear and comp- 
rehensible, which they are not to other folks. 


The main features of the formation of rocks in our bluffs are: 

a. The rocks appear almost always in regular strata, with 
little or no dip in the masses. 

b. The same kind of rock is found at about the same relative 


c. The formation is worn down- in the interior, and more 
prominent along the river. 

d. There is drift on the top of the bluffs as well as upon the 

e. There are no shells in the limestone and only fragments 
in the sandstone at some places. 

/. The petrifacts or fossils found along the slopes of the hills 
in certain places are imbedded in a crust looking spongy, but being 
very hard and coarse. 

g. Though detached, the pieces in which these specimens 
are contained, are not sanded or worn to any extent by friction or 

h. These petrifacts are mainly gastropods; trilobites are 
found in some layers of sandstone that are not generally exposed. 

i. The principal rocks are limestone at the top and sandstone 
below it.' 

The limestone is usually hard and compact, the sandstone 
very often soft or friable. Chemically the limestone is not pure, 
but contains more or less magnesia. 

In consideration of the above mentioned facts, which were 
also observed in adjacent counties on either side of the Missis- 
sippi, it is safe to consign our hills to the Lower or oldest Silurian 
System.. The foundation sandstone is usually called the Potsdam 
Sandstone; the limestone adjoining it is known as the Lower 
Magnesian Limestone. 

As the rocks occur in horizontal layers at corresponding levels, 
it is evident that neither during their original formation, nor 
since, there has been any serious or preceptible disturbance. 
There seems to be no disruption in the stratification, and the de- 
position of matter must have taken place under water which was 
deep and therefore but superficially disturbed. As the material 
of the Potsdam sandstone is almost entirely quartz in rounded 
grains the conclusion seems inevitable, that at some place quartz 
or quartzite existed and was subject to disintegration. 

It is equally evident that the particles after disintegration 
must have been subject to an unlimited amount of friction or roll- 
ing, as the grains of the Potsdam sandstone are small and worn. 
We also know of no natural force which could have brought them 
to their present location except that of gravitation. It is suggested 


that at the time of this disintegration and deposition of particles, 
the temperature of the earth and atmosphere was considerably 
higher than at present, but whether it was fluctuating according 
to the seasons, is uncertain. The higher temperature, and conse- 
quent evaporation and precipitation, much more rapid and copious 
than at present, would aflford some explanation of the phenome- 
na connected with the formation of sandstone, except the pres- 
ence of animal remains in it. If these remains belonged to 
living organisms, it might be asked, whether these or any organ- 
isms of their kind could exist in a temperature much higher than 
the present, one that would work disintegration of crystalline rocks. 
The next question would be of the cause of the disappearance of 
the water that covered the deposits. Before this disappearance, 
the precipitation of the limestone as a mass upon the foundation 
of sandstone must have taken place. Limestone is not merely a 
mechanical aggregation like sandstone, but a chemical combina- 
tion. We cannot refute the supposition that the lime must have 
been held in solution in the superincumbent waters for a long 
time. There must have been a time when the water did no longer 
contain this solution or when it was suddenly drawn off. But it 
would be reasonable enough to suppose that the deposition ceased 
before the draining _took place, since there is still a crust of earth 
above the limestone, for which there seems no cause more natural 
than a similar deposition out of the water. As an explanation of 
the matter it is supposed, and very probable, that after the form- 
ation had taken place, the whole was by slow degrees elevated to 
its present absolute level, that the water following the inevitable 
law of gravitation, flowed off to a lower place, and that thence- 
forth erosion and abrasion began to work out the inequalities of 
the surface. There are many indications in this neighborhood 
and in other places not far away, that at some time the whole of 
the country was covered with a deep crust of ice, or, as we say, 
with glaciers. It has been found to be the nature of a glacier to 
move from the higher to a lower place, very much as a mass of 
molten metal would run down an inclined plain. The higher 
levels being colder, the snow and other precipitations congeal and 
accumulate there until they press upon those beneath or on lower 
levels, and push them slowly down the incline, and, unless the 


ice be melted at the lowest point, it may be pushed up an oppos- 
ing declivity. The force of this moving weight was irresistible, 
and even the hard rocks had to succumb. It is said that two such 
operations happened and were instrumental in shaping the sur- 
face of the country. We find it remarkable that there are no act- 
ual traces of the second one of these ice-floods, as we might call 
them, in the opposite hills along the Mississippi in our immediate 
neighborhood. But in the eastern and northern part of the 
county we find traces of its agency in the rounded form of ridges 
and even of higher hills, in the flattening of the surface and the 
absence of high continuous bluff's, while we meet more frequently 
with drift-hills, instead of solid bluff spurs. A glacier in its 
movements among hills and mountains would shove along masses 
of fractured rock and of earth, while it very often carried on its 
surface boulders, detached pieces of outcropping rock formations, 
which at the disappearance of the ice were left scattered about. 
In the foregoing I have endeavored to present a few of the 
ideas prevalent among professional men, by whom I mean such 
as have made geology their particular study. For myself and 
most other people, who had no' particular opportunities in such 
matters, the conclusion that the repetition of certain forms or 
shapes of hills or mountains may be caused by the similarity, 
both of elements and_ arrangement, of their constituent parts, is 
almost inevitable. This repetiton of forms is strikingly prevalent 
among our bluff's, and, as far as actual explorations go, they con- 
firm this conclusion. It must, however, be admitted that they 
are not by any means so thorough, as to remove all possible 
doubts. In the following extracts, copied verbatim from Vol. IV 
of "Geology of Wisconsin," (being actually the report on the 
Geological Surveys of the State of Wisconsin,) I present to the 
readers the opinions of others, whose claim of superiority over 
myself in such matters I do not care to dispute, although I pro- 
pose to reserve my own private opinion. In the course of these 
reports I shall have occasion to revert to the metal which at pre- 
sent causes the chief excitement all over the Northwest, and of 
which a spell has come over Buffalo County also. 


Town 18. This is a fractional township of fourteen sections, 


lying along the Mississippi and consisting of sandy bottom land, 
interjected with sloughs. 

Town 19, Buffalo. This township is very hilly and rough; 
the ridges are from 300 to 400 feet above the Mississippi, and are 
well timbered with large white oaks, and much smaller timber of 
second growth. The farms are confined to the valleys and the 
crest of the ridges. About two-thirds of the town is covered with 
Potsdam sandstone, and the remainder with Lower Magnesian 
limestone, which has sometimes a thickness of 200 feet. 

Town 20, Cross, (in part). The interior of the township is oc- 
cupied by the valley of the Trempealeau river which is from one 
to two miles wide, being about one-half meadow land and one- 
half large elm timber. The remainder of the to\ynship is very 
hilly and cut up with deep ravines. The town is well watered by 
numerous small streams and the soil is rather sandy. The form- 
ation is chiefly Potsdam. 

Town 21, Glencoe. This township is very hilly, the central 
part being occupied by a ridge dividing Muir Creek from the 
Waumandee River. The ridge is about 580 feet above t he Mississippi 
and is capped by about 100 feet of Lower Magnesian limestone. 
Muir Creek occupies the eastern part of the township; it has a 
wide and well-cultivated valley, with rich, black soil, in some 
places rather swampy. The formations are Potsdam and Lower 
Magnesian in nearly equal proportions. 


Township 19. This is a fractional township through which 
the Mississippi runs from Section 6 to 36, bordered with high and 
precipitous cliffs. Nearly all of the town consists of high rolling 
ridge land lying from 500 to 600 feet above the river. It is well 
timbered with large white oak and small timber. In the north- 
east quarter of Section 9, the geological section from the ridge to 
the bed of the river is as follows: 


St. Peter's sandstone 50. 

Lower Magnesian limestone 200. 

Potsdam sandstone 350. 

Total from ridge to bed of river 600. 

The Lower Magnesian is the principal surface rock. 


Town 20, Oross, (in part.) This town is well watered by Eagle 
Creek and its branches in the central part, and by the Wauman- 
dee River in the western part. The other parts of the town are 
very hilly, and consist of dividing ridges lying about 550 feet 
above the streams. The soil on the ridges is clay, which in some 
j)laces is suited to the manufacture of brick. One brick yard was 
seen in the southeast quarter of Section 32. The valley of the 
Waumandee is from a mile to a mile and a half wide, and well 
settled; the soil is largely of quaternary origin, and is very 
fertile. The formations are Portsdam one-third Lower Magnesian 
two- thirds. 

Town 21, Waumandee, (in part.) The valleys of the Wau- 
mandee and its tributaries occupy a large part of this town and 
afford much good agricultural land. The hills are not so high or 
so steep as in the country further south. The ridges are well tim- 
bered. Formations, Potsdani two-thirds, Lower Magnesian one- 


Toion 20, Milton, (in part.) This is a fractional town lying 
along the Mississippi, which runs, from Section 6 to 34. There is 
a strip of flat sandy land about two miles wide lying between the 
river and the inclosing, which is cultivated next to the bluffs; the 
soil there containing more clay. About one-fourth of the township 
has the Lower Magnesian for the surface rock, and the remainder 
is Potsdam. 

Town 21, Belvidere, (in part.) This town consists chiefly of 
high ridge land, much intersected with ravines. The divide be- 
tween Beef River and the Waumandee passes through the town 
and has a pretty uniform elevation of about 600 feet above the 
Mississippi. The ridges are wide and well settled, with clay soil 
and white oak timber. The Lower Magnesian is the principal 

Town 22, Alma (in part.) The southern half of the town is 
similar to Town 21. Beef River flows through the town from Sec- 
tion 2 to 19. Its valley is about a mile and a half wide, rather 
swampy and chiefly devoted to hay meadow. The farms are on 
the terraces which form the foot of the bluffs on either side of the 
river. The town is well watered by numerous small streams. 
The foro^^tions are Potsdam and Magnesian in nearly equal parts. 


Town 23, Modena. The greater part of the town is valley 
land, with high ridges in the western and northern part. It is 
not as thickly settled as the country farther south, and the soil is 
much more sandy. The height of the dividing ridges in this town 
is about 530 feet above the Mississippi, and they are well-timbered 
with white oak. The formations are Potsdam, covering two-thirds, 
of the town, and Lower Magnesian the rest. 

Town 24, Canton. There is a high narrow dividing ridge of 
Lower Magnesian in the southern part of the town. The rest of 
the town is covered with a sandy soil, and slopes to Bear Creek, 
which has a very wide and swampy valley, consisting chiefly of 
meadow land and some tamarack. There is some very good farm- 
ing land. 


Town 22, Nelson (in part.) The southern and western parts 
are occupied by the wide sandy valleys of Beef River and Beef 
Slough, in which the soil is very poor except at the foot of the 
bluffs. Trout Creek, which runs through the northeast part of 
the town, has a long and well cultivated valley, from a quarter to 
a half mile in width. There are some high limestone ridges in 
Sections 2, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 22, which are timbered with 
white oak ; the rest of the town has the Potsdam for the surface 

Town 23, Nelson (in part.) This town consists of high lime- 
stone ridges in the central and southern parts ; the northern part 
is occupied by Little Bear Creek and its tributaries. The soil is 
very sandy in the valleys but clay on the ridges. The formations 
are Potsdam and Lower Magnesian in nearly equal parts. 


Towns 22, 23 and 24, Western parts of Nelson and MaxvUle. This 
particular situation is not mentioned in the Geol. Report as far 
as these towns lie in Buffalo County. There is indeed nothing to 
be said aboiit them, except that no part contains any consid- 
erable hills, and that in fact so much of them as is contained within 
this county is 5n the sandy prairies along Beef Slough and adja- 
cent bottoms, and in these bottoms themselves. 


Any one conversant with the situation of the towns mentioned 


will know that whoever reported the above may have been a com- 
petent geologist, but was rather at sea concerning the towns. A 
glance at the county map will show, that Sect. 9 of Township 19 
North of Range 11 West, is just east of the Village of Fountain 
City, its southwest corner reaching down into the same. AS there 
is a specification for this section differing from the common reports 
on the bluffs in the county, I found it advisable to refer to the sit- 

The Geol. Report further says : 


There are two small outliers of St. Peter's sand stone in the 
southern part of the county on the ridge between Eagle Creek and 
the Trempealeau River. 

1. This is a large outlying area, comprising parts Sects. 2, 3, 
10, and 11 in T. 19 R. 11 equal to one square mile. It only manifests 
its presence by making the soil more sandy, in occasional bould- 
ers and fragments of sand stone, and in a few outcrops in place. 

2. There is a small area, equal to about half a section, on the 
same ridge, and a short distance north of area No. 1. The greater 
part of it lies in Section 35, T. 20 R. 11. 

Eemarks: — By consulting the " Atlas of Buffalo County " we 
find that area No. 1 above described is between the east and west 
branches of Eagle Creek in the town of Cross. 

Area No. 2, immediately north of the other, is somewhere 
close to the sources of Schoepp's Valley Creek in the town of Wau- 

The report continues: 

The above are new discoveries, and serve as connecting links 
between the outcrops south of the La Crosse River and those in 
Pierce County. 

The following table shows a section of a mountain not too far 
from our county: 



1. Heavy bedded, unfossiliferous sand stone 40. 

2. Intercalations of magnesian limestone and sand t 20. 

3. Sandstone layers, with lines of cross stratifications 19. 


4. Layers of yellowish concretionary sandstone 3. 

5. Heavy bedded, yellow sandstone. Layers 2 to 6 feet thick 45. 

6. Thin bedded, brown, yellow and white sandstone 11. 

7. Thin, yellow, argilaceous shales, with traces of dicello- 
cepalus 10. 

8. Soft and friable green sandstone 12. 

9. Heavy bedded, red and yellow sandstones 20. 

10. Hard and compact sandstone, containing considerable lime 9. 

11. Concretionary sandstone, containing green sand 3. 

12. Thin bedded, yellow sandstone, with frequent green layers 33. 

13. Band of green clay ].. 

14. Alternations of green and red sand stone 6. 

15. Compact green sandstone 5. 

16. Soft and friable green sand 9. 

17. Sandstone containing scales of mica, and indistinct fossils 3. 

18. Ferruginous sandstone 20. 

19. Thin bedded, soft green sandstone, with intercalations of 
green clay from two to four inches thick 30. 

20. Heavy bedded, brown, calcareous sandstone 10. 

21. Soft and friable sandstone, with mica and green sand 12. 

22. Friable sandstone, with indistinct trilobites 6. 

23. Loose green sand 2. 

24. Heavy bedded, yellow and gray sandstones, containing 
large quantities of finely comminuted white Idngula shells 80. 

25. Slope of hill, sandstone to water in the Mississippi 25. 

Total Thickness of Section 434. 

From Vol. IV, " Geology of Wisconsin: » 


The formations of the territory described in this report are 
confined to the Lower Silurian age, with the exception of the 
Quaternary. The following general section, taken from Prof 
Dana's Manual, embraces the present received order of geological 
periods and epochs in North America, and to it is added another 



column, showing the order of the epochs in the territory under 



















Galena, and Blae and Buff limestones. 


St. Peter's sandstone. 


Lower Magnesian sandstone 




Potsdam sandstone. 


Not iexposed. 

From the above table it will be seen that there are but seven 
epochs to be considered, the remainder being either denuded, never 
deposited, or unexposed. They will be considered in the natural 
order of their deposition, beginning wiih the oldest and lowest, 
which is the Potsdam Sandstone. 

Note: In the following descriptions I have been obliged to 
abbreviate those in the Geol. Survey and have given a prominence 
to those epochs of which we find examples in this county. 


The territory covered by the Potsdam forms a large part of 
the district examined (Western Wisconsin.) It is found in the val- 
leys of all the streams, and in the northern part it becomes the 
surface rock of the entire country. 

The strata of the Potsdam emerge from the valley of the Mis- 
sissippi a short distance above Prairie du Chien, and rise gradu- 
ally in ascending the river until they attain their maximum ele- 
vation of 470 feet above the river, between La Crosse and Trem- 
pealeau. From this point, continuing to ascend the river, the ele- 
vation diminishes irregularly; being 350 feet at Fountain City, 
270 feet at Alma, 820 feet at Buflalo City, 200 feet at Maiden Rock, 


80 feet at Bay City, 120 feet at Diamond Bluff and sinking below 
the level of the Mississippi a few miles below Prescott. 

Trempealeau Mountain, of which a section is given above, is 
the most noteworthy specimen of this formation. Of other points 
as lithological character, stratification and such things it is bhe 
place to speak in a compendium on geology, but not here. 

One thing almost escaped my notice. The Geol. Survey, 
Vol. IV, page 49 gives a sketch of the Cascade in NE I Sect. 7, 
T. 23, R. 13. The locality is well known in the northwestern part 
of the county, and presents a very good exposure of Potsdam 
sandstone. The sketch is only remarkable for its clumsiness and 
general want of exactness and artistic execution. 

The " Economical Products " of this formation are summed 
up as follows: 1, Iron; 2, copper; 3, building stone; 4, artesian 
and mineral wells. 

1. Iron. This mineral, says the Geol. Survey, is quite abun- 
dant in the counties of Richland, Crawford and Vernon. But 
since the publication of the work this mineral has been discovered 
in many places in Dunn, Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, and, 
last but by no means least, in several places in Buffalo county. So 
far. May 1887, we have abundant excitement, but no reported re- 
sults. If, however, such results should be published before this 
book has gone through the press, they will be either included in, 
or annexed to it. 

2. Copper. No discovery was ever made of this mineral up 
to present time. 

3. Building Stone. A very good article of building stone is 
obtained from the dolomite layers of the Potsdam, which are usu- 
ally found about one hundred feet below the surface of the forma- 
tion. Numerous quarries exist everywhere in the county, but the 
exact or chemical nature of the stone has nowhere been ascer- 
tained up to the present time. 

Sand suitable for mortar, plastering, etc., can be obtained 
readily from any part of the Potsdam formation. The only ob- 
jection to it is that it is sometimes of too fine a grain, for some 
kinds of mortar. Much of this sand is perfectly white and very 
pure and probably adapted to the manufacturing of glass. 

4. Artesian Wells and Mineral Waters. Until lately there were 
no wells of this character in this county. During the year 1886 


some were based upon the blufif between- Alma and Little Wau- 
mandee, of which I obtained the following two reports: 

1. On the farm of John Wilk, on the NE i of the NW i of 
Section 16, T. 21, R. 12, in the town of Belvidere. 

Clay or drift 17 feet. 

Limestone 50 " 

Sandrock 59 " 

Flintstone (Chert?) 42 " 

Limestone 75 " 

Sandrock 62 " 

Total depth 305 feet. 

2. On the farm of George Muehleisen on the SW } of NW i 
of Sect. 23, T. 21, R. 12, in the same town: 

Clay or drift ; 43 feet. 

Hard sandstone 3 " 

Sand (soft stone or loose) 16 " 

Hard limestone 63 '' 

Black volcanic rock. (Perhaps Iron?) ,... 15 " 

Soft limestone 102 " 

Sandstone 63 " 

Total depth 305 feet. 

Notes: — a. The water does not rise above the surface of the 
earth, but is pumped up by a windmill. 

b. Well No. 1 is on a higher part of the blufif about 2.3 miles 
northwest of No. 2. 

c. The report was made by the owners who are not experts. 

d. No. 1 reports 28 feet of water, but nothing of tubing. 


The composition of the Lower Magnesian is somewhat liable 
to variation in different parts of the formation. Usually, however, 
it is a highly magnesian limestone, and its average composition is 
as follows: 

Carbonate of lime ". 51. 

Carbonate of magnesia 41. 

Water, insoluble matter, oxide of iron and alumina... 8. 

Total 100. 

In the country bordering on the Miesissippi, above the Treai- 


pealeau River, the Lower Magnesian does not contain nearly so 
much chert and other eilicious material as in the southern part of 
the state. Calcite is, however, of more frequent occurrence. In 
the bluffs near Fountain City, in JBuffalo County, (and near Alma 
also,) it exists in small irregular layers and masses of a few inches 
in diameter, quite transparent and cleavable, filling cavities of the 
rock and sometimes giving it a brecciated appearance. The north- 
ern outcrop of the Lower Magnesian forms an extremely irregular 
line. Beginning with Township 16, Range 1, East, it may be 
traced westward nearly to the mouth of the La Crosse River, about 
6 miles. From here to the Trempealeau River is a wide tract of 
country from which the formation has been nearly eroded, arid 
remains only in thin and widely separated outliers. 

On entering Bufialo County in its southeastern part, on ac- 
count of the increased height of the country "and the gradual slope 
of the strata to the northwest, the Lower Magnesian limebtone ap- 
pears in a thickness of from 100 to 200 feet, forming high cliffs and 
escarpments along the Mississippi from the Trempealeau to the 
Chippewa River. 

The northern outcrop of the formation in Buffalo County lies 
parallel to the Mississippi and about 18 miles distant from it. 
(Where?) On approaching this line a marked change is seen in 
the topography of the country. The valleys are much wider, and 
the hills not so high or so steep as near the Mississippi. Probably 
this appearance results from the original thin deposit of the lime- 
stone near its line of outcrop; which being worn away sooner than 
in the south part of the county, the subsequent erosive action took 
effect on the softer Potsdam; thus in the same period of time mak- 
ing wide valleys in the northern part of the county and narrow 
ones near the Mississippi where the thickness of the Lower Mag- 
nesian Limestone was greater. . 


of this formation are &s follows: 1, Copper; 2, lead; 3, building 
stone; 4, lime. 

1. Copper. There is no known indication of this mineral 
being present in this county. 

2. Lead. The same may be said of this mineral, all rumors 
to the contrary notwithstanding. This formation, however, is said 
to contain the lead mines of MisBourir 


3. Building Stone. Wherever the Lower Magnesian is ex- 
posed, there is always an abundance of good building stone. The 
lower beds of the formation are usually found in regular heavy 
ledges, very suitable for quarrying. Quarries of this kind are 
quite numerous, especially on the western side of the bluffs, so 
that there is no need for special mention of anyone. 

4. lAme. The Lower Magnesian formation affords lime with 
as much facility as building stone. There are numerous lime 
kilns all along the bluffs, but the stones for the same are seldom 
quarried from regular beds, much oftener from large rocks which 
have come down from the cliffs at some time and been buried 
more or less in the drift. Those engaged in lime burning usually 
select the stone by its surface appearance and its fracture, and 
could not tell to what bed of limestone-formation it belongs. 

Owing to the large percentage of magnesia in the Lower Mag- 
nesian, the lime obtained from it is somewhat hydraulic and slakes 
slowly. This quality may be regarded as rather, advantageous 
than, otherwise. 

It is scarcely necessary to enumerate the kilns, but it may be 
remarked that they are usually of very primitive construction 
with imperfect mechanical appliances. An exception to this I 
noticed on the bank of the slough in the upper part of Fountain 
City, where the stone used for lime also comes from a regular 

ST. pbtee's sandstone. 

From the preceding pages the reader will find a notice of the 
occurrence of St. Peter's Sandstone in this county. Its very lim- 
ited occurremce excuses ttie neglect to mention any economic pro- 
ducts derived from it in other localities. 


As there is probably none of this variety in our county, it is 
barely mentioned here, to complete the discussion of the epochs. 


Glacial Period. 
The glaciers' mentioned above have left some deposits in their 
places characteristic of their former presence. Vol. IV of Geo- 
logical Survey says: "The most southerly glacial . deposit 
observed (yi western Wisconsin) is situated in Buffalo County on 
he SW quarter of Sect. 14, Town 19, R. U, at m elevation of 380 


feet above the Mississippi River. It consists of a small isolated 
patch — not over 400 feet in its longest dimension -^ of small 
gravel coiitaining the usual drift materials, such as granite, quartz, 
trap, etc., but no large bov^lders. It lies on the side of a small 
ravine, near the summit of the ridge, and is exposed for a short 
distance by a road excavation. A similar deposit of fine gravel is 
found in SW quarter of Sect. 3 of the same township, on the slope 
towards Eagle Creek. 

From these points northwestward, to the Chippewa River, 
patches of drift gravel are found at numerous points, but bowlders 
are rare. Beyond the Chippewa bowlders and larger deposits 
occur, but the glacial deposits are nowhere in this district very 

Cham/plain Peri6d. 

It is characterized by the Valley drift of the Mississippi and 
the Wisconsin River. 

There are numerous places in the valley of the Mississippi, 
on both sides of the river, where heavy deposits are found of 
niateria,ls foreign to the adjacent formations. The deposits consist 
chiefly of silicious sand, with some clay, and a large percentage 
of small gravel. The gravel is chiefly composed of smooth 
rounded pebbles of quartz, granite, trap, and fragments ot other 
Archean rocks. The pebbles seldom exceed a few ounces in weight 
The deposits are, for the most part, stratified, although this can 
not always be readily observed. They are not continuous, being 
found only in such places, where circumstances prevented their 
removal by the streams. There are, of course, numerous deposits 
of this kind in the county, but none are specified in- the Geol. 
Survey. Swamps are frequently caused by impervious beds of 
clay and gravel belonging to this formation. This, however, must 
not be taken for an assertion, that all swamp's rest on such beds, 
although the same cause is usually expected to produce the same 

Recent Period. 

During this period, the last, but not by any means so Very 
young a period, there was a general elevation of the country, which 
resulted in bringing up the Champlain deposits of the river val- 
leys to their present elevation, gradually increasing the velocity 
of the rivers and removing the greater part of the drift fillings of 


the last narfaed period. Sometimes this was only a change in the 
distribution of materials, such as is at present constantly progress- 
ing. I have heard of no scientific section of the country showing 
the thickness of its layers, and we have so many diffel^ences in 
that matter, that but little would have been gained by one invest- 
igation. Among the remarkable features of this period there are 
two, Calcareous Deposits and Sinks. By calcareous deposits are 
meaUt those layers of carbonate of lime that are found in caves on 
the floor or else on the roof or ceiling. These are stalagmites and 
stalactites. This occurrence in the county is possible and prob- 
able but not proven. 

Sinks we call those almost circular, funnel-shaped depres- 
sions, often unexpectedly met with on the level summit of most 
of our bluffs. They very seldom contain any water, even after a 
copious rain, w'hich, considering that they have usually a diameter 
of ten to fifteen feet, shows that there must be some rather capaci- 
ous opening in the deepest spot to let the water escape. This al- 
ways was the case in the few I ever examined; sometimes there 
were loose stones between Which the water could easily escape. 
As ther'e must be some place to which the water can descend, it is 
natural to connect the sinks with caves, but other fissures may 
answer the same purpose. A close investigation of some large 
sink might therefore lead to the discovery of a cave, of which we 
have not at present any instance in this county. 

Having now come through the periods, (or rather up) usually 
accepted by scientific men in such matters it remains to speak of 
some occurrences going on before our own eyes. 

One of them is the undermining of the cliffs on the crest of 
our bluffs close to the edge of the slope. Wherever the soft sand- 
stone of the Potsdam formation is exposed we find that the harder 
ledges are jutting out over the foundation and when we examine 
the condition of the soil of the slope close to the rock, we find it 
to consist of the same coarse sand as the foundation. We can also 
perceive, especially after the winter frosts have thawed out, that 
the foundation stone is peeling off. This, in course of time, de- 
stroys the support of the superincumbent rock, and it comes down 
usually in heavy masses that are horizontally divided, and separate 
when they strike the ground, and bound down the slope, bury 
theDHselves by the force of their weight and momentum in the 


soft debris or reach sometimes the very foot of the declivity. The 
most considerable of these disruptions must have happened many 
years ago oh the west side slope between Deer Creek and the Nor- 
wegian road. 

Precisely how long ago I would not assert, but that oaks and 
other trees grew between the horizontal fissures of such rocks, can 
be seen in traveling along the Alma and Durand road. One rock, 
sandstone, is- split in two parts by the roots of a birch, which 
stands upon it, the roots reaching down into the soil for nutrition. 
The fissure is widening from year to year, and will continue until 
one day one or both of the two pieces will fall, or break near the 

The last occurrence of a similar disruption was the coming 
down of the pinnacle on the northwest corner, of the once cele- 
brated Twelve Mile Bluff, at Alma, right opposite to the turn of 
the river to the southwest, and above Lane's sawmill. The impres- 
sion made by the detached piece on the ground where it fell was 
124 feet long; the top piece, measuring about 15 feet in the three 
main directions came nearly down to the road, the remainder scat- 
tered, but did not roll very far away from the steepest part of the 

Excavations bring out some of the rock, and reveal the 
depth of the drift or detritus lying over it. At one place in the 
city of Alma in an excavation of about 26 feet down to the level 
of Main Street, the detritus consists of about 16 feet of mixed 
gravel and clay, with a great many blocks of stone, sandstone and 
limestone, and possibly some other material, as granitic and sim- 
ilar bowlders. The two former kinds are of any possible shape, 
small and large, and but little, if any, worn. At some place, about 
a mile below town, we find coarse gravel, pebbles and bowlders, 
largely of the granitic character. Along the Mississippi, and, (so 
I have heard) along the shores of Lake Pepin, and especially at 
the mouth of the Chippewa River, Carnelians of very good qual- 
ities, also rounded pebbles of white quartz are found, intermixed 
with many different other kinds, of red, or reddish color, some 
translucent others dull, also some pudding stones, and some stones 
showing on the surface the cavities in which other material 
once must have been contained. Several times I noticed when 
digging on the surface of the prairie, where the soil belongs to the 


most recent period, splinters or small rounded pebbles of very 
translucent reddish color, probably small carnelians, without 
veins. All these finds are accidental, but where did the material 
come from? To answer these and a few other questions which 
have been asked in the course of this geological description, I 
would have to write and the reader would have to peruse a com- 
pendium, or perhaps several, on geology, mineralogy, and litho- 
logy, a task which we will defer into eternity. 

As a supplement, to what has been said in the foregoing geo- 
logical sketch I have to add the following report made by Mr. L. 
P. Hunner of Alma, one of the incorporators of the Buffalo County 
Mining Company. 


The iron was discovered May 25th, 1887. The mines are 
located on Sections 19 and 20 of Township 23 North of Range 13 
West. So far nine shafts have been sunk varying in depth from 
10 to 50 feet. The successive layers of material above the iron 
are: Sandstone, Limestone, Soapstone, Kaoline, and Clay. Daven- 
port Fisher, chemist in Milwaukee, gives the following analysis of 
the specimen of ore sent from these mines: Iron 62.72 per cent., 
Manganese 3.04 per cent., Silica 2.91 per cent., Phosphorus .035 
per cent. (July 11, 1887.) 

Remarks. — Being no expert in this matter I refer the reader to 
page 613, part III of Vol. I of the Geology of Wisconsin, where 
he will find a fuU and correct description of ores and a general 
scale of their relative values. The presence of iron in the locality 
described in the above report was surmised some years ago by 
Mr. Berlinger, the proprietor, who informed me of it when I sur- 
veyed his land. Rumors of the discovery of Iron in many other 
• localities in this county were diligently circulated for a while, but 
actual investigations have only been carried on in the locality in- 
dicated. The conclusion that, because Iron has been found in one 
bluff of our very similar formations, there may be some in other 
blufifs, is not unnatural, but, of course, by no means incontrover- 
tible. The operations are not yet extensive enough to warrant 
any decisive judgment as to the commercial value of the mines, 
whether favorable or otherwise, and so I will dismiss the matter 
with the wish that those engaged in the enterprise and the com- 
munity at large may be benefited by the new discovery. 


But these discoveries, though certainly new, were by no means 
the first of their kind in this county. As early as 1855 there was 
mining for ore in the neighborhood of the old schoolhouse at 
Fountain City. Mr. John G. Kammueller, now deceased, who 
had been a foreman of miners in an iron mine in the Grand- 
duchy of Baden, and his three sons William, Frederick and Leopold, 
who had also from boyhood been employed at the same business, 
were even at that early time convinced that metals would be found 
in our bluffs. Being, however, like most settlers of those early 
times, without the necessary means for the required investigations, 
they had to give up their diggings, although signs for ultimate 
success appeared to be favorable. The following year, 1856, the 
above named gentlemen, in company with John Martin and Lud- 
wig Martin again tried their fortune with a new mine. This time 
they began to dig upon the bluff north of Fountain City, upon the 
Northeast Quarter of Northeast Quarter of Section 8 of Township 
19, Range 11, where the depression, left after the caving in of the 
shaft, can still be seen. They dug down about 100 feet and found 
different metals. Towards spring they built a furnace, and 
smelted out about eight hundred pounds of metal. During the 
thaw in spring heavy rains prevailed, -and the water flowed into 
the shaft, partly ruining it, so that it was impossible to descend 
into it. In this enterprise they had received some aid from such 
citizens of Fountain City as were well inclined towards the matter. 
During the process of smelting there was considerable excitement 
in the neighborhood, and everybody went to have a look at it. 

Mr. William Kammueller, who is still living in that neighbor- 
hood, holds to the opinion, that if they could have persevered, 
they would have found lead. The misadventure of their shaft 
tumbling in, burying their tools, etc., prevented further attempts 
ever since. For this information I am indebted to Mr. Jacob Meili of 
the Town of Milton, who is a son-in-law of Wm. Kammueller. The 
reader has already been directed to the study of such sources of 
geological information, as are now accessible and certainly of more 
weight and authority than any opinion of mine. 


The following sketches or rather enumerations can not be ex- 
pected to be scientifically accurate or complete. Indeed it may 
be objected by some people that they are too systematic and dry 
for many readers, but it must be observed that the description of 
Buffalo County could not have been complete without this 
chapter, and that we should not reject any object of fact or history 
merely because it is dry. The chapter on Natural History may, 
moreover, serve for reference with those who do not have the time 
or much inclination to investigate such matters closely, and would 
probably not have thought of buying a separate work on natural 
history. I am convinced that there are a great many such who, 
nevertheless have a latent desire to learn something of it, especi- 
ally what may relate to their own surroundings. This should be 
encouraged especially among young folks. It was not considered 
necessary to add anything on Mineralogy, since all the materials 
of that branch of natural history had to be discussed under the 
head of Geology, to which the reader is hereby referred. 


It goes without contradiction that a book like this, though it 
aims at an accurate and somewhat minute description of the 
country and its natural productions, can not go any further in the 
latter part than an enumeration of those productions, which arc 
indigenous, that is, existed without and before settlement and cul- 
tivation. This is especially the case with animals 6f all kinds, or 
the province of Zoology, the description of the Animal Kingdom. 
The following lists, which I made up from those given in Vol. I 
of the Geological Survey of Wisconsin, have been submitted to 
the inspection of Prof. F. H. King of the Normal School in River 
Falls, and corrected according to his suggestions. The list of 
Birds may be said to be his work entirely, as he indicated by 
numbers corresponding to those in his exhaustive article on the 
same subject in the volume of the survey above stated, what birds 
he considered likely to occur at the different seasons of the year 


in this neighborhood. Perhaps it is not my particular vocation to 
make up some of these lists, as I am no hunter, nor a fisher, but 
I tried to do as well as circumstances permitted. 


Cats : 
Panther. None killed since settlement. ' 
Lynx (Canada). Scarce since settlement. 
Wild Cat, (Red Lynx.) Frequent and injurious. 

Dogs : 
Prairie Wolf. Not yet extinct. 
Red Fox. Not very frequent; small. 

Weasels : 
Weasel, (white and little.) Frequent in these parts. 
Mink. Not very frequent. 
Skunk. Rather numerous of late. 
Otter, Possibly on sloughs and Mississippi. 
Badger; Rather scarce, unless the ground hog be its represen- 

Bears : 
Black Bear. Scarce, but not extinct. 
Racoon. Not rare; sometimes tamed. 

Elk. Formerly quite frequent, but now extinct. 
Common Deer. Not rare, nor very frequent. 

Moles : 
Common Mole. Common, but owing to habits not frequently seen. 

Shrews : 
Similar to moles, and sometimes called such; probably present, 
but not A-equent. 

Bats : 
Coromon Bat. Said to be of eight specieg, which are not usually 

Mice : 
The name is significant of habit and structure. 
Common Mouse. Very frequent. 
Rat, black and brown. Very frequent. 

Prairie Mouse. Likes prairies, but may occur in this county. 
Muskrat. Quite frequent in swamps and small streams. 


Beaver : 
Common (Am.) Beaver. I have heard of only one pair, which 
was said to have lived in Bull's Valley, and doubt its pres- 
ent existence in this vicinity. 
Fox Squirrel. Not numerous. 

Gray Squirrel. More numerous; the black variety occurs some- 
Red Squirrel. Abundant; small. 
Chipmunk. The little fence-mouse, so-called. 
Striped Gopher. Quite numerous. 
Pouched Gopher. Perhaps a few. 
Gray Gopher. Not numerous, but large and voracious. 
Woodchuck. Mistaken for others. 

Canada Porcupine. Not numerous. 

Rabbits : 
Northern Hare. Changeable fur; rare. 
Gray Rabbit. Frequent in some years. 

^"[S"" BIRDS. 

Vol. I, 
G. R. 

A. Summer JReddenta : 


Common Robin. 


Wood Thrush. 


Veery; Tawny Thrush; Wilson's Thrush. 




Brown Thrush; Sandy Mocking Bird; Thrasher. 


Eastern Bluebird. 


House Wren. 


Long-billed Marsh Wren. 


Horned Lark; Shore Lark. 


Black-and- White Creeping Warbler. 


Chestnut-sided Warbles. 

• 48. 

Golden-crowned Thrush. 


Water Thrush; Water Wagtail. 


Maryland Yellow Throat; Black-masked Ground Warbler. 


Scarlet Tanager. 


Barn Swallow. 


White-bellied Swallow. 


63. Cliff Swallow; Eave Swallow. 

64. Bank Swallow. 
66. Purple Martin. 

68. Cedar Waxwing; Cherry Bird. 

69. Red-eyed Vireo; Red-eyed Greenlet. 

71. Warbling Vireo; Warbling Greenlet. 

72. Yellow-throated Vireo. 
76. White-rumped Shrike. 

85. American Goldfinch; Thistle-Bird. 

90. Bay -winged Bunting; Grass Finch. 

95. Song Sparrow. 

98. Chipping Sparrow; Hair-Bird. 

100. Clay -colored Sparrow. 

103. Lark Finch, 

107. Rose-crested Grosbeak. 

108. Indigo Bird. 

110. Ground Robin; Chewink. 

111. Bobolink; Reedbird; Ricebird. 

112. Cowbird. 

113. Red winged Blackbird. 

114. Yellow-headed Blackbird. 

115. Meadow Lark; Field Lark. 

118. Baltimore Oriole; Golden Robin; Hangnest. 

121. Purple Grackle. 

123. Common Crow. 

125. Blue Jay. 

127. King Bird; Bee Martin. 

134. Traill's Flycatcher. 

135. Least Flycatcher. 

137. Whippoorwill; Night- Jar. 

138. Night-Hawk; Bull-Bat. 

139. Chimney Swift. 

140; Ruby-throated Humming-bird.. 

141. Belted Kingfisher. 

142. Black-billed Cuckoo. 

143. Yellow-billed Cuckoo. 

151. Red-headed Woodpecker. 

152. Golden-winged Woodpecker. 


154. Great Horned Owl. 

155. Red Owl; Mottled Owl; Screech Owl. 

156. American Long-eared Owl. 
159. Barred Owl. 

164. Marsh Hawk; Harrier. 

171. Sparrow Hawk. 

175. Broad- winged Buzzard. 

179. White-headed Eagle. 

180. Turkey Buzzard. 

181. Wild Pigeon; Passenger Pigeon. 

182. Carolina Dove. 

185. Pinnated Grouse; Prairie Hen. 

186. Ruffed Grouse; Partridge. 
188. Quail; Bob White. 

191. Killdeer Plover. 

200. American Woodcock. 

201. American Snipe; Wilson's Snipe. 
220. Bartramian Tattler; Upland Plover. 

226. White Crane; Whooping Crane. 

227. Northern Sandhill Crane. 

228. Great Blue Heron. 
230. Green Heron. 

232. American Bittern. 

233. Least Bittern. 

236. Carolina Rail; Carolina Crake. 

238. Florida Gallinule. 

240. American Coot. 

257. Blue- winged Teal. 

259. Wood Duck; Summer Duck. 

288. Black Fern. 

295. Red-billed Grebe; Dab-Chick. 

Winter Residents: 

14. Black-capped Chickadee; Titmouse. 

16. White-bellied Nuthatch. 

67. Bohemian Waxwing. 

75. Butcher Bird; Northern Shrike. ' 

77. Evening Grosbeak. 

78. Pine Grosbeak. 


80. American Red Crossbill. 

81. White-winged Crossbill. - 

82. Red-poll Linnet. ' 

86. .Snow Bunting; Snow-Flake. 

87. Lapland Longspur. 
125. Blue Jay. 

145. Hairy Woodpecker. i 

146. Downy Woodpecker. 

154. Great Horned Owl. 

155. Red Owl; Mottled Owl; Screech Owl. 
160. Great White or Snowy Owl. 

162. Richardson's Owl. 

163. Acadian or Saw- whet Owl. 
168. American Groshawk. 

178. Golden Eagle. 

179. White-headed Eagle, 

185. Pinnated Grouse; Prairie Hen. 

186. Ruffed Grouse; Partridge. 
188. Quail; Bob White. 


Perthes : 
Yellow Perch. Abundant. ; 

Wall-eyed Pike. Abundant. 
Gray Pike Perch. May be the same fish. 
White Bass. Numerous. 
Large-mouthed Black Bass. Abundant. 
Small-mouthed Black Bass. Common. 
Six-spined Bass. Probably in lakes. 
Rock Bass. Said to be caught. 
Common Sunfish. Frequent in places. 
Common Spotted Sunfish. Frequent in places. . 

Brook Trout. Once abundant, but now decimated. 

Muskallunge. True Pike; seldom. paught. 
Pickerel. Abundant. 

Minnows : 
Blunt-jawed Minnow. ) 

Silvery Minnow i I am not aware that minnows are dis- 

Blunt:nosed Minnow. ) ^^^S^^^^^d ^y particular names. 
Shiner. May be common. 


Common Mud Sucker. Abundant. 
Red Horse. Common. 

Buffalo Carp. 1 Very common, but, not distinguished from each 
Buffalo Fish. J other. 

Cat-Fishes : 
Blue Cat Fish. Abundant in Mississippi. 
Yellow Cat Fish. Abundant in Mississippi. 
Bull Head. Common in brooks. 

Western Eel. In Mississippi, but rare. 

Dog-Mshes : 
Dog Fish. Abundant in places. 

Gars : 
Gar Pike. Numerous in Mississippi. 

Sturgeons : 
Shovel-nosed Sturgeon. Not very common. 

Lamphreys : 
Small Black Lamphrey. 


I. Reptiles. 

Turtles: — 
Common Snapping Turtle. Abundant. 
Common Soft-shelled Turtle. Abundant. 
Leathery Turtle. Common. 
Western Painted Turtle. Common. 

Serpents: — -.■ 

A. Non- Venomous iSnakes^ 

Adders: — ,. ■, 

Hog-nosed Viper. Doubtful. 
Blowing Adder. Doubtful. 

Water Snakes: — 
Spotted Water Snake. Abundant ; dangerous to fishes. 
Striped Water Snake. Probably common. 
Red-beUied Snake. 

Constrictors: — 
Fox Snake. Common on prairies. 
Green Snake. Common.^^ 
Common Garter Snake. Common. 


All common. 

B. Poisonous Snakes. 
Yellow Rattlesnake. Common. 
Massasauga. Rare. 

II. Amphibians. 

Frogs: — 
Leopard Frog. 
Green Frog. 
Wood Frog. 
Bull Frog. 
Common Tree Toad. \ 

Pickering's Tree Toad. V All found but not very abundant. 
Striped Tree Frog. J 

Toads: — 
Common Toad. Common. 

Tritons: — 
Spotted Triton. Occasionally found. 

Red -lined Salamander. In heavy timber; doubtful here. 

Mud-Pwppies: — 
Mud Puppy. Probably abundant in streams, ponds and sloughs. 

Dangerous to the spawn of fishes. 


Of this family of animals only very few members are of in- 
terest or importance, or generally known to those who have not 
made the study of natural history their special object. 

The Crawfishes are the most obvious representatives of the 
Crustaceans and the varieties living in Wiscpnsin may be distin- 
guished as such that live in running waters, and such as live in 
sluggish waters and burrow in the adjacent soft or swampy land. 

Of the first kind we have: 
Cambarus Virilis: Greenish Crawfish. 
Cambarus Propinquus: Crowding Crawfish. 

These two varieties are quite abundant, but not much used 
for any purpose that I know of. 

Of the second kind we have only one variety, Cambarus Obe- 
suB, the Thick or Flat Crawfish, but whether it is used for food or 
o ther purposes by anybody but the cranes, I can not attest. Fresh-' 
water crawfishes are sometimes used for bait to catch larger sorts 
of fish. 


• The list of Crustaceans in Vol. I of Geological Survey con- 
tains many more names but all in Latin, and from this we might 
conclude that the species enumerated are known only to scientists 
of that stripe, that they have no current, popular or vulgar n£tme&, 
aad do not want to make the acquaintance of any but the most 
distinguished zoologists. To all of which we have no objections 
to offer. 


Insects, in a reslricted sense, are six-footed articulates. (Now 
we know it!) Wisconsin is rich in insect life, among which are 
many southern forms. The presence of these southern insects 
may he satisfactorily accounted for, in part, by the warmer sum- 
mierstbat occur west of .theiGreat liakes, than are experienced in 
the same latitude east of these great bodies of water — a curving 
north of the summer isotbea-m. (P. R. Hoy.) Owing to the fact 
that the names of insects occurring in Wisconsin, which are enumer- 
ated in Vol. I of the Geological Survey are all in Latin, and there 
are only names for the _most obvious forms in use among the 
people at large, I had concluded to arrange this matter differently, 
and follow in the main the plan of a little treatise on " Our Com- 
mon Insects " by A. S. Packard^ Jr., which seemed much better 
adapted to the purposes of a book like this. But there is neither 
system nor consistency in its arrangements, and except for philo- 
sophically inclined eatomologists the book is of but little use. 
I then procured " Insects at Home," which styles itself a "popu- 
lar account of all those insects which are useful or destructive." 
It is a ponderous .book, and certainly a very useful book for those 
who can devote three-fourths of a long life to the subject,- but for 
me it ihad the one great fault, tha,t only English specimens were 
treated of. I marked out a long list, but the longer it becai:ie, the 
more I was bewildeired, and then I gave it up. Of course, thesre 
^e numerous insects conamon to all latitudes of the temperate, 
zone, but which of them, besides the -most familiar ones, were to 
be found in our region w as so much more difficult to find out, as 
almost every, naturalist seems to have a peculiar system of nomen- 
clattire, with the one agg'ravation, that common or popular names 
seemed to be equally abhorred by all of them. It occurred to me 
that I could maike a system of myiown formy own purpose and 
that this would be rather more comprehensible than those I had 


taken so much time and trouble to adopt. There was once a 
botanist of renown who proposed to divide all plants into two 
classes, viz: Those which smell sweet, and those who do not. 
Similarly I propose to divide the immense swarm of insects into 
two classes, Useful and Noxious. I am "vyell aware of the difficul- 
ties of arranging the different species into the two classes and may 
state two objections to the system. 

The first is that genera rnust be divided, since one species of 
a certain genus may be useful, while others are decidedly noxious. 
The second is, that the first class will be infinitely small compared 
with the second in every respect, not only in the number of species, 
but still much more in the number of individuals. The recom- 
mendation of the system is, however, this, that most people natur- 
ally make the same distinction, and prefer not to recognize others. 


They may be divided into two divisions: 

A, Such as are beneficial by the productions of their labor; 

B. Such as are useful by destroying noxious insects. 

A. Insects beneficial by their labor. 

The only one of this class is the Bee. Bees are divided into 
domesticated and wild. To the domesticated kind belong also 
those swarms, which desert at swarming time and build their 
dwellings in hollow trees. The wild ones number many species 
among which the Bumble Bee is perhaps the most extensively 
known. All of them to enumerate would take too much time and 

B. Insects useful by destroying noxious insects. 

This is done either by. catching and destroying these insects 
for food, as is done by the Spiders, or it is done by depositing 
eggs into the bodies of other insects, on which the larva Irom the 
egg will feed and destroy them. Such insects may be called useful 
parasites in distinction to other parasites, which are noxious, 
either by annoyance or destructiveness. 

,>-i>";Every body knows the Spiders, but to distinguish the different 
species which are indigenous with us, may be left to future nat- 

Among the Useful Parasitets there are some wasps and some 
bees of lower order, and in some cases the ants may be considered 
as belonging to this class. 



Insects are noxious by reason of the annoyance ■which they 
cause, as for instance flies, mosquitoes and such, or by reason of 
their destructiveness, inflicting actual loss or damage to crops or 
other things. It is not very easy to say of some insects whether 
they are more annoying or more destructive, and not a few are 
both. Hence I think it will be best, to enumerate the different 
kinds with short remarks. 

Wasps and Hornets. 

These are noxious by eating up grapes and probably other 
sweet berries and fruits. They are also very annoying by their 
sharp and poisonous stings. Although some of the numerous 
species are rather beneficial by the destruction of noxious insects, 
I think most of them must be considered as belonging to this 


Everybody is much more intimately acquainted with this 
singing and stinging little pest, than can be considered pleasant, 
and it is somewhat comforting to think that there is but one 
species of it in this part of the country. 

Flies and Gnats. 

By this combination I do not mean to indicate any scientific 
relationship between the two annoyances named, though probably 
everybody will admit a superficial similarity. Of both kinds we 
have not only a superabundant multitude, but also quite a num- 
ber of species. 

Of flies we may enumerate the Housefly, the Meatfly or 
Blue Bottle, the Brown June fly or Deer fly, the Gadfly, etc. 

Bugs and Beetles. 

These two are here named together because they are very 
often mistaken or miscalled for each other. So, for instance, is 
the potato-bug unmistakably a beetle. 

Of beetles we have a very great number of species some of 
which live in the water, others in the ground, others on trees and 
under their bark. Many of these kindg are probably neutral, 
that is neither beneficial nor noxious ; others like the ten-dotted 
Colorado beetle, alias potato-bug are very destructive on the leaves 
of plants in the larva state; others are destructive by their larva, 
boring in the wood and bark of treey, The l9,rva of the May 


Beetle or June Bug is very destrucfeive to the roots of vegetation 
in fields and gardens, but the insect is not So very numerous here. 
Of bugs we may mention the Chinch bug so enormously numer- 
ous and destructive to all kinds of grain, and many grasses; the 
Bed-Bug, a nauseous annoyance, of which there is also a siiper- 


The unsophisticated may resent it as a slander if they see 
these most beautiful creatures arranged among the noxious in- 
sects; but it is none the less true that they all lay eggs, and cater- 
pillars are hatched from these eggs, and these creatures are fear- 
fully destructive to everything of vegetable origin, especially in 
its green state. After they have done the mischief they become 
"good," like some people, who are never so good as when they 
sleep. This transition state is called pupa. After it follows the 
"imago,", the "true picture," in which most butterflies do nothing 
but lay their eggs, preparations for a new series of the same old 
mischief. To begin enumeration of all kinds of butterflies is im- 
possible in this book. 

Grasshoppe'rs' and Orickets. 
Grasshoppers must live on soniething and hence, as they are 
not known to be of any visible use, we must put them down 
among destructive insects, though in our neighborhood the da- 
mage done by them is insignificd,nt. The same is to be said of 
crickets. The field cricket has proved an annoyance to farmers 
by desti-oying the bands On the sheaves bound by harvester twine, 
thus causing mUch trouble arid probably also loss. 

Lice, Ticks, and Fleas. 
They are here named together because they are parasites upon 
the body of living animals. Disgusting as the subject may be, we: 
must, remark that these parasites change in their form, and nature 
according to their habitation, and as lice, for instance, are found 
upon men . quadrupeds and birds, there is a, vast variety of them. 
This isanalogous with ticks and fleas, but in our climate the tick is 
neither so numerous nor so large and strong a-i in warmer regions. 
The flea, though found upon dogs and perhaps other animals, has 
not yet infested the human species in this region. 


Mites and Weevih, 

The very small insects which are destructive to many things, 
cause irritation of the skin, actual itch and mange are caused by 
mites. Weevils are destructive to seeds of all kinds. They are 
not always, but in some cases, so small as to be microscopic, like 
the mites. 


Naturalists distinguish a great many species and varieties of 
this very remarkable insect. It is my opinion that the most 
highly developed species are not indigenous here, there being in 
fact but few species present. Ants, may be, and are undoubtedly, 
useful in many ways, but they are an annoyance wherever they 
have taken up their residence in gardens or houses, and for that 
reason I have classed them among the noxious insects.. 

of all kinds belong mostly to insects, but do not form a particular 
class of them. They belong to a great many classes or species 
and are only mentioned here to indicate that though they might 
form the objects of a separate study, they could not be made much 
of in this place. 


I am aware of the many objections to the mode in which in- 
sects have been treated here, and most of these objections I have 
already met in the introduction. Those, who wish for a more 
satisfactory instruction in this branch of Zoology are referred to 
the book " Insects at Home," and others. I would be glad to refer 
especially the young-people to some expert in this branch, but I 
know not where to find one in this vicinity. Indeed there is pre- 
cious little of actual knowledge afloat among us on this and many 
another similar subject; there is no lack of hearsay evidence and 
some are adroit iti arranging what they are hot even superficially 
acquainted with, and think they understand arrangements or classi- 
fications made by others. We must leave them to their notions, 
but we will have a chance to disCUss the matter under the head of 
" Education." 


In the following enumeration of indigenous plants I have en- 
deavored to accept only such as I have observed in this neighbor- 
hood or else thought very'pi-pbable of occurring. I have given 


the popular or vulgar name, as liear as I was able to do so, but 
whether I was always correct in this, or whether the name given 
will be accepted in every locality, I cannot now assert. The 
names as well as any evidences of a probable occurrence of the 
plants in our vicinity I have taken from Wood's Class-Book of 
Botany, edition of 1856, and Gray's School and Field Book of 
Botany, edition of 1868, the arrangement being the same as in 
Vol. I, Geological Survey of Wisconsin, from page 377 to 395 incl. 
The names of families and genera of plants are given in Latin, for 
the purpose of assisting those who may have a desire for consult- 
ing the books mentioned, or some equivalent treatise. It was how- 
ever not deemed advisable to put in the names of species and 
varieties, as these could not be of any interest to the general reader, 
and could easily be found in books devoted to the subject by the 
curious and those especially interested. 

In the appendix I have tried to give the best enumeration of 
cultivated plants separately. It is much to be regretted that bot- 
any is not a branch of instruction in the common schools, since it 
would not be so very difficult to make pupils acquainted with the 
general appearance of numerous plants, and afterwards to instruct 
the higher classes in the scientific arrangements of the same. 



Ranunculacese. ' Crowfoot Family. 

Clematis. Virgin's Bower. 

Anemone. Wind Flower. 

Hepatica. • Easter Flower. 

Caltha. Marsh Marigold. 

Coptis. Goldthread. 

Aquilegia. .Wild Columbine. 

Ciraicifuga. Black Snakeroot. 

Delphinium. Lark Spur. 

Actea. Baneberry. 

Menispemacese. Moonseed Family. 

Menispermum. Moonseed. 

Berberidacex. Barberry Family. 

Podophyllum. May Apple. 

Gaulophyllum. Papoose Root. 













Water-Lily Family. 
Water Lily. 
, Yellow Pond Lily. 

Pitcher-Plant Family. 
Sidesaddle Flower. 

Poppy Family. 
Horn Poppy. 
Blood Root. 

Fumitory Family. 
Mountain Fringe. 
Dutchman's Breeches. 
Golden Corydalis. 

Mustard Family. 
Cress (5 var.) 
Pepper Root. 
Bitter Cress.. / 
Sickle Pod. 
Wall Flower. 
Hedge Mustard. 
Shepherd's Purse. 
Wild Peppergrass. 

Violet Family. 
Violet (6 var.) 

Rock Rose Family. 

Sundew Family. 

Chickweed Family. 

Pwslane FamAly. 

Wire-leaved Talinum. 




Filia (Americana.) 









Poly gala. 


Mallow Family. 

Linden Family. 
Linden or Lime Tree. 

CranesbUl Family. 
Sorel. • 

Rue Family.. 
Prickly Ash. 
Shrubby Trefoil. 

Sumach Family. 

Vine or Orape Family. 
Grapevine. (3 var.) 

Buckthorn Family. 

Jersey Tea. (Red Root.) 
Holly Family. 
Holm Oak. 

Staff-tree Family. 

Soap-berry Family. 
Maple. (4 var.) 
Box Elder. 

Milkwort Family. 

Pulse Family. 

.Clover or Trefoil. (4 var.) 
Sweet Clover. 
Indian Potato. 




Lead Plant. 


Locust tree. 


Hoary Pea. 


Milk Vetch. 

Desmodium. . 

Tick Trefoil. 


Bush Clover. 




Sweet Pea. 


Ground Nut. 


Bean. (Sand Bean.) 


Pea Vine. 


False Indigo. 


Am. Senna. 


Honey Locust. 


Rose Family. 

Prunus Am. 

Wild Plum. 

Cerasus. , 

Wild Cherry. 


Meadow Sweet. 






Dry Strawberry. 


Cinquefoil or Five Fingers. 




Raspberry (6 var.) 


Wild Rose (3 var.) 


Crimson Fruit Thorn. 


June Berry. 


Saxifrage Family. 










Bishop's Cap. 


False Mitrewort. 


Water Carpet. 


House-leek Family. 


Stone Crop (Live-for-ever.) 


Ditch Stone Crop. 














Witch Hazel Farmiy. 
Witch Hazel. 

Water Milfoil Family. 
Water Milfoil. 
Mermaid. • 
Mare's Tail. 

Evening Primrose Family. 
Enchanter's Nightshade. 
Willow Herb. 
'Evening Primrose. 
Bastard Loosestrife. 

Melastoma Family. 
Meadow Beauty. 

Loosestrife Family. 
Loosestrife or Grass-poly. 
Carpetweed Family. 

Gucumher Family. 
Star Cucumber. 
Prickly Bladder Cucumber. 

Parsley Family. 

Button Snakeroot. 
Carrot. (Run wild.) 
Parsnip. (Run wild.) 
Cow Parsnip. 
Water Drop. 
Water Hemlock. 
Water Parsnip. 
Hone wort. 

Sweet Cicely. (Wild.) 
Poison Hemlock. 

Ginseng Family. 
Spikenard and Wild Sarsaparilla. 

Dogwood Family. 






Valeriana. (Paucifl.) 













Helianthus Tuberosus. 





Honeysuckle Family. 
True Honeysuckle. 
Bush Honeysuckle. 
Arrow-wood. (Snbwball.) 

Madder Family. 
Bedstraw or Cleavers. 
Button Bush. 
Bluet ^r Dwarf Pink. 
Partridge Berry. 

Vakrian Family. 
Wild Valerian. 
Cornsalad or Lamb's Lettuce. 

Teasel Family. 

Aster Family. 
Blazing Star. 

Thoroughwort or Boneset. 
Aster. (28 var. of which many 

grow wild.) 

Goldenrod. (24 var.) 
Rosin Weed. 
Marsh Elder. 
Hay weed. 
Clot weed. 
Cone Flower. 

Jerusalem Artichoke. 
Beggar Ticks. 
























Millfoil or Yarrow. 

Ox-eye Daisy. 



Everlasting. Immortelle. 

Wild Caraway. 




Chicory. (Wild.) 


Rattlesnake Root. 


Lettuce. (Wild and cult.) 

Sow Thistle. 

'Lobdia Family. 
Indian Tobacco. 

Bellfloiper Family. 
Bellflower or Harebell. 
Venus' Looking-glass. 

Heath Family. ' 

Whortleberry or Huckleberry. 



Trailing Arbutus. 



Labrador Tea. 

Wintergreen or Shineleaf. 

Mountain Laurel. 

Prince's Pine. 

Primrose Family. 
Primrose or Cowslip. 
Shooting Star. 

Plantain Family. 
Plantain or Ribgrass. 





Scrophularia. . 
Pedicularis. • 



Bladderwort Family. 

Broomrape Family. 
Beech Drops. 

Figwort Family. 
Toad Flax. 
Beard Tongue. 
Monkey Flower. 
Painted Cup. 
Louse wort. 
' Cow-wheat. 

Verbena Family. 
Verbena. (Wild and cult.) 

Mint Family. 
Blue Gentian. 

Water Hoarhound. 
Mountain Mint. 
Horse Balsam. 
Horse Mint. 
Hairy Blephilia. 
Hemp Nettle. 
Hedge Nettle. 







Solanum . 









Barrage Family. 
Gram well. 
Viper'a Bugloss. 
Scorpion Grass. 
Hound's Tongue. 

Waterleaf Family. 

Bindweed Family. 
Flax Dodder. 

Nightshade Family. 

Henbane or Groundsel. 
Thornapple. (Jimsonweed,) 

Gentian Family. 

SUkweed Family. 
Green Silkweed. 

Olive Family. 
Ash. (5 var.) 

Birthwort Family. 
Wild Ginger. 

Four-o'clock Family, 
Vinegar Saucer. 

Pokeweed Family. 
Poke weed. 

Goosefoot Family. 











Juglans, cinerea. ) 
Juglans, nigra, i 





Soda Plant. 

Amaranth Family. 

Buckwheat Family. 

Laurel Family. 

Mezereum Family. 

Nettle Family. 

' Nettle. 
Wood Nettle. 
Hop. (Wild.) 
Hemp. (Run wild.) 

Planetree Faniily. 
Sycamore. (?) 

Walnut Family. 
Black Walnut. 
Hickory. (4 var.) 

Oak Family. 
Oak. (11 var.) 
Hornbeam. -- 

Birch Family. 
Birch. (5 var.) 

Willow Family. 
Willow. (17 var.) 
Poplar. (5 var.) 

Pirie Family. 
Hne. (3 var.) 

Spruce or Fir. (4 var. including 






Arbor Vitae. 


White Cedar. 


Juniper and Red Cedar. 


Ground Hemlock. 


Arum Family. 


f Dragon Root. 

I Jack-in-the-Pulpit. 


Northern Calla. 


Skunk Cabbage. 


Sweet Flag. 


Duckmeat Family. 




Cat-tail Family. 


Cat- tail. 


Burr Seed. 


Waternymph Family. 


Water Nymph. 


Horn Pondweed. 




Water, Plantain Family. 


Arrowgrass. ; 


Water Plantain. 




Frog's Bit Family. 




Tape Grass. 


Orchis Family. 

Orchis or Habenaria. 



Ladies' Tresses. 


Grass Pink. 






Puddy grass. 


Ladies' Slipper. 


Blue Flag Family. 


Blue Flag. 


Blue-eyed Grass. 


Green Bria/r Family. 




Green Briar Family. 


Green Briar. 


Lily Family. 




Bell wort. 


SoloTnon's Seal. 






Lily. (Red and Yellow ; Wild.) 




Rush Family. 


Rush. (15 var.) 


Field Rush. 


Sedge Family. 




Club Rush. 


Cotton Grass. 


Bog Rush. 


Carex. (78 var.) 

Of Sedges proper (Cares 

:) there are about 160 species, several 

of which contribute, more in 

bulk than value, to the hay of low 

coarse meadows and half-reclaimed bogs. (Gray.) 


Grass Family. 


Cut Orass. 


Indian Rice. 


Foxtail Grass. 




White Top. 


Mountain Rice. 


Feather Grass. 


Poverty Grass. 


Orchard Grass. 


Spear Gra:ss. 

Triticum (caninum.) 

Dog's Couch Grass. 

Hosteum (juratum.) 

Squirrel tail Grass. 


Wild Rye. 

Avena (stirata.) 

Animated Oats. 


Soft Grass. 


Seneca Grass. 














Canary Seed. 


Finger or Crab Grasp. (12 spe.) 

Wild Timothy. 

Burr Grass. 

Broom Corn. 

Maize or Indian Corn. 

Horsetail Family. 
Horsetail. (Scouring Rush.) 

Fern Family. 
Shield Fern 
Flowercup Fern. 

Adder's Tongue Family. 
Adder's Tongue. 
Rattlesnake Fern. 

Clubmoss Fanxdly. 



is omitted advisedly, since all those who might profit by it must 
be in possession of much more knowledge about them, than eould 
be conveyed here, or would interest, the general reader. 

In the following "Appendix " I will endeaver to enumerate 
the most important of such plants as are cultivated or domestic- 
ated here, not because there are none who are informed on that 
subject, but to point a road for the information of those who are 
yet deficient in that kind of knowledge. 



A. Useful. 
CrudfercB. Mustard Family. 

Cochlearia. Horseradish. 

Brassica. Turnip and Cabbage. 

Baphanuis. Baclisb. 





Vitis Vinifera. 



Pyrus Coronasia. 


(See Saxifragacese above.) 
Ribes (rubum and nigrum.) 
Ribes Grossularia. 


Helianthus Tnberoslis. 


Flax FamUy. 
Common Flax. 

Vine or Grape Family. 
Wine Grape. 

Pvhe Faijiify. 

Rose Family. . 
Crab Apple. 

lOucwmber Family. 
Cucumber and Melon. 
Pumpkin and Squash. 

Gooseberry Family. ^ 


Parsley Family. 

Aster Family. 

Jerusalem Artichoke. 







Solanum Tuberosum. 
Solanum Lycopersicum. 





Phleum Pratense. 

Horde um. 

Sorghum Sacharinum. 


Chicory and Endive. 

Mint Family. 

Barrage Family. 

Nightshade Family. 
Cayenne Pepper. 

Buckwheat Family. 

NetUe Family. 

Iris Family. 

Lily Family. 
Onion, Leek, Garlic, etc. 

Grass Family. 
Foxtail Grass. 

Millet and Hungarian Gras 
Finger Grass. 

Spear Grass. (Blue Grass." 
Broom Corn. 
Sugar Corn. 
Maize or Indian Corn. 

Goosefoot Family. 
Beet. (Diff. kinds.) 



Names taken from the catalogue of Jas. Vick. Arranged by 

Absonia, Didiscus. 

Adonis, Delphinium, Aquilegia, 
Alyssum, Asperula, Molucca Balm, Perilla, Salvia. 

Ageratum, Aster, Brachycome, Centiaurea, Cacalia, Calendula, 
Calliopsis, Crepis, Double Daisy, Gaillp,rdia, Helianthus (Sun- 
flower), Kaulfussia, Marigold, Obeliscaria, Oxyiira, Palafoxia, Sca- 
biosa. Zinnia (Everlastings), A'pocilium, Ammobium, Gomphrena, 
Helichrysum, Helipterum, Rhodanthe, Wait2da, Xeranthemum, 


Anagallis, Primula. 


Agrostemma, Catchfly, S^poniai.Dianthus, Gypsosphila. 

Amaranthus, Celosia. 

Scrophulariacecs. i , 

Alonsoa, Antirrhinum, Collinsia, Mimulus, Salpiglossis, Mau- 
randia, Digitalis, Browallia. 

Argemone, Poppy, Esscholtzia. 



Callirhoe, Malope, Hollyhock. 


Candituft, Erysimum, Ten Weeks Stack. 

Calandrinia, Portulacca. 





Datura, Nolana, Petunia. 

Euphorbia Marginata, Ricinus. 

Eutoca, Nemophila, Whitlavia. 

Godetia, Oenothera. 

Gilia, Phlox, Phacelia, Cobea. 


Lupinus, Medicago, Sensitive, Dol'ichos Pea, Viburnum. 




Four o'clock. 


Nigella, Pseony. 

Pansy, Violet. 


Tropaeolum, Minus and Major. 








Convolvulus. Ipomoea. 






Gourds of all kinds 













Hyacinthus, Lilies of all kinds, Yucca Tulipa. 


Ivy (engl.) 





Roses of all kinds, 



Syringa or Lilac. 






All kinds of Geraniums. 

My object in using 

Vick'B Catalogue for the basis of the eutim' 


eration of ornamental plants was two-fold. 1. It was sure to 
contaiit the most important and withal a generous number; 2. It 
was in the hands of not a few of the population, by which at least 
some of the names in the list were already familiar to many read- 
ers. I might have swelled the list to a great extent by repeating 
the names of some plants which appeared among annuals and 
perennials, but I think it is sufficiently large. 

It occurred to me while writing out these lists, that I really 
know but very few inhabitants of this county, who ever showed to 
me a considerable acquaintance with the vegetable kingdom 
or of any special part of it. Though not by far as well informed 
on the subject myself, as I would wish to be, this lack of informa- 
tion in others surprised me as being extraordinary for people yet 
in neighborly contact with objects under consideration, and other- 
wise mostly intelligent and some of considerable accomplishments. 
Not the least of my aims in giving this very extensive list of 
plants, was to arouse among the younger generation a more intense 
curiosity in regard to the knowledge of the Vegetable Kingdom. 



This is the name of a race, of which numerous traces remain, 
mostly in the shape of larger or smaller mounds, conjectured vari- 
ously to have been the ancestors of the Aztecs; the original immi- 
grants from Asia by way of Behring Strait; the descendants of 
the Welshmen, who crossed the ocean with a fleet under a Captain 
Madoc; some people saved by forethought or accident when the 
Atlantis, the supposed connection of Africa and America was 
sunk beneath the water of the ocean; the lost tribes of the Israel- 
ites; and so forth, as fancy or prejudice may lead people in their 
explanations of the indisputable relics of a race, of which its 
mysterious disappearance is not the least perplexing character- 
istic. To enter at length upon the subject and the different hypo- 
theses concerning that people and its monuments can not be my 
intention, so much the less, because we have no authenticated mo- 
numents of its presence in this county or its immediate neighbor- 
hood. One thing seems to be conceded: the Mound-builders were 
not the ancestors of that Indian race, which was in possession of 
the country at the time of its discovery by the Europeans. The 
reasons for this assertion or belief are two: 1. The Indians had 
no traditions of a race that was in possession of the land before 
their own race, and knew nothing of the purposes for which the 
monuments or mounds seem to have been constructed. 2. The 
mounds or monuments contain almost incontestable proofs of a 
higher civilization than that of the Indians, to have Ijeen prevalent 
among the mysterious Mound-builders. It might be said that 
this civilization was lost in the lapse of a long time, as there are 
instances of whole nations receding from the high standard of a 
civilization once attained, but these instances are not very numer- 
ous nor the changes quite so marked and radical. 

The French, the earliest pioneers in the northern and north- 
western part of this continent, seem to have taken no special 
notice of these mounds. Their missionaries had seen among the 
Hurons how such hills originated, and probably concluded that 
all of them had the same origin. To Captain Jonathan Carver the 


credit seems to belong, to have first called the attention of civilized 
or educated men to the existence of the monuments in question. 
He had no propensity for rooting among them, nor was archaeo- 
logy At that time addicted to the use of the spade as it now is, or 
perhaps this science did not not form any part of his stock of in- 
formation. Among such monuments described by him one is 
within the horizon of our county, at Wabasha, Minnesota. For 
that reason I will transcribe his description, without, however, 
vouching for the perfect reliability of the source, from which, for 
want of a better, I had to take it. He says: 

" One day 1 walked some miles below Lake Pepin to take a 
view of the adjacent country. I had not proceeded far, before I came 
to a fine, level, open plain, on which I perceived, at a little dis- 
tance, a partial elevation that had the appearance of an i^trench- 
ment. On a nearer inspection I had greater reason to suppose that 
it had really been intended for this many centuries ago. Notwith- 
standing it was now covered with grass, I could plainly discern 
that it had once been a breast work about four feet in height, ex- 
tending the best part of a mile, and sufficiently capacious to cover 
five thousand men. In form it was somewhat circular, and its 
flanks reached to the river. Though much defaced by time, every 
angle was distinguishable and appeared as regular, and fashioned 
with as much military skill, as if planned by Vauban himself. 
The ditch was not visible, but I thought on examining more curi- 
ously, that I could perceive there certainly had been one. From 
its situation, also, I am convinced that it must have been designed 
for that purpose. It fronted the country, and the rear was covered 
by the river; nor was there any rising ground for a considerable 
way that commanded it; a few straggling oaks were alone to be 
seen near it. In many places small tracks were worn across it by 
the feet of the elks and deer, and from the depth of the bed of 
earth by which it was covered I was able to draw certain conclu- 
sions of its great antiquity. To show that this description is not 
the offspring of a heated imagination, or the chimerical tale of a 
mistaken traveler, I find on inquiry since my return, that Mons. 
St. Pierre and several traders have, at different times, taken notice 
of similar appearances on which they have formed the same con- 
jectures, but without examining them so minutely as I did." 

The statement appears to be highly colored by the captain's 


military enthusiasm, especially as to the extent of the supposed 
fortification, for which according to the Indian mode of warfare 
there seems to be no occasion whatever. It might also be asked, 
how far his knowledge of the system of fortification introduced by 
Vauban extended, since there is no probability that any extensive 
works after that model existed in America. 

In opposition to Carver's view we may be allowed to quote 
the opinion of a modern observer, Mr. Thos. E. Randall, in his 
" History of the Chippewa Valley." He says: " I have frequently 
passed over, and examined the "earthworks" spoken of by Carver 
and Featherstonehaugh as vast, ancient fortifications, situated on 
the west bank of the Mississippi between the village of Wabasha 
and what used to be known as the Grand Encampment, and must 
say a great stretch of the imagination is required to make any- 
thing more of them than the formations of nature's own handi- 
work. And until further excavations shall disclose more con- 
vincing evidence of human agency in their construction, I shall 
be slow to accept their conclusions." 

This opinion of Mr. Randall's is entitled to some considera- 
tion as he had, according to his statement, some previous experi- 
ence in the -matter. 

Judge Gale in his work entitled "The Upper Mississippi", after 
enumerating monuments of the Moundbuilders in different other 
states of the Union says : " Wisconsin can scarcely dignify any of 
her old earthworks into fortifications." 

After describing the most important one at Aztalan, in Jeffer- 
son County, more extensively, he still comes to the following 
conclusion : 

" But what destroys the probability that the Aztalan works 
were a fort, is thfr fact that it was commanded by a ridge on the 
west side, and the bank on the opposite side of the creek, both 
within an arrow-shot of the enclosure." The judge then discusses 
the other kinds of mounds, especially those supposed to have been 
used for religious purposes, and which in the m ain consist of trun- 
cated cones or pyramids, which he finds to be much less in size 
than in other states, and to have been noted only at three locali- 
ties; viz: at Aztalan, Ontonagon River and Trempealeau Village. 
The mound at Trempealeau is about seven feet high, with a level 
surface at the top aboat twenty five by fifty feet, with graded ways 


from each of the four sides, about twenty -five feet long, with the 
full width of the sides. Others may yet be discovered. This is 
the nearest authentical structure of the kind. 

The works at Aztalan are mentioned and described in the 
work of I. A. Lapham on Wisconsin, printed 1846. He is not 
very positive in regard to the purposes for which they were 
erected, but seems inclined to the Aztek origin of it. 

As the subject is too extensive, and as there is really no proof 
of any such structure existing or having existed within the terri- 
tory under consideration, we may dismiss all speculations on the 

While there are no mounds or hills of the kind we have hith- 
erto considered, there are still some others, quite numerous in 
some localities, especially along the lowlands of the Mississippi, 
yet but rarely on the prairies. The locations are frequently at the 
entrance of the valley of some creek or river from the main val- 
ley. Some of them are near the mouth of Beef River, or rather 
its junction with Beef Slough in clayey soil. The next collection 
is on the level space above Deer Creek, on the east side of the road 
branching off from the Alma and Durand road, near the school- 
house of Dist. No. 3 Town of Nelson. There these knolls are 
quite numerous, but partly obliterated. Another considerable 
group we find in the neighborhood of Misha Makwa, on the prai- 
rie plateau close to the foot of the bluff near the junction of the 
north side road of Little Bear Creek Valley with the Alma and 
Durand road. These latter mounds seem to distinguish them- 
selves from the other two groups, by being, even down to the 
surrounding level spots, composed of a very dark sandy Ipam, 
quite in contrast with the soil in the next vicinity, while in the 
others no other soil appears, but such as is similar to the next 

There is no order or arrangement among those knolls, and it 
seems evident, that, though they were erected within a short time 
of each other, and long ago, they were not erected at the same 
time, nor any of them for another purpose than the remainder. 
Their form tends somewhat to the elliptical cone, the slopes are 
moderate, and there is usually no level space on the top, and their 
depth is not often four feet, though, possibly, sometime that or 
more. It is very probable that small collections of such hills are 


to be found at other places, and they are indeed to be looked for 
in locations similar to those described. Some knolls to be seen at 
different places along sloughs or along places reached by high 
water, one or two at a place may also occur. 

These knolls I consider Indian graves. They occur in greater 
number where it is most probable that Indians would congregate 
for purposes connected with their mode of life,^as for hunting, fish- 
ing or fighting. Especially the latter seems to have given a cause 
to start up these grave-yards. As far as I have learned there has 
no evidence been found, which might controvert my opinion, but 
I think that all articles found in or about such grave-yards, as ar- 
rows, stone-hatchets, pipes and stone implements in general, have 
been such as are known to have been used by the Indians before 
their contact with civilization. 

Nor is it to be supposed that these knolls are so very ancient. 
It is less than three hundred years since the first permanent set- 
tlements along the Atlantic and almost to a year but two hundred 
since the first explorers entered upper part of the Mississippi Val- 
ley. This seems more then time enough to efface almost any 
knoll of so small a size. Hence, we are not justified in ascribing 
these monuments to any race anterior to the Indians. 

The possibility of their having remained as perceptible eleva- 
tions is due to their situation, almost always a dry one, not swept 
by occasional surface currents of any considerable force, with a 
dry and solid substratum. They also indicate the Indian mode 
of burial, which was not by digging a grave, but by heaping earth 
upon and around the body until it was not only covered or hid 
from sight, but also from the scent of beasts of prey. This seems 
to have been a good deal of work, yet it was much easier for a 
people without spades, mattocks and shovels, than to dig a ditch. 
Many of these burial spots were probably intended to be but 
temporary, and knolls would assist in the finding of the place, and 
earth heaped up would be drier and less difficult to remove for 
the recovery of the remains. About implements and other objects 
obtained from any of these graves or burial-knolls, we shall speak 
in the chapter on Indians. 

The foregoing was written down a short time ago and laid 
aside for future consideration, experience having taught me, as 
well as others, that it is sometimes necessary to change our opini- 


ons. I have also, in the meantime, procured a book on the sub- 
ject, entitled, " The Mound-Builders, being an account of a re- 
markable people that once inhabited the valleys of Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi, etc., by J. P. MacLean." This book is, like all books on 
such subjects, rather enthusiastic, though on the whole fair and 
candid. In the chapter on Preliminary Observations the author 

says of the 

" Distribution of the Works : 

These works are very irregularl}' distributed, being found 
principally along the river valleys. They are only occasionally 
met with in the hill or broken country, and when thus found are 
always of small size. 

Their number is very great; in Ohio alone there are not less 
than thirteen thousand, including both mounds and enclosures. 
Within a radius of fifty miles from the mouth of the Illinois 
River in the State of Illinois, there are about five thousand 
mounds. All the mounds located in the territory occupied by 
the Mound -Builders do not belong to that ancient people, for many 
of them have been constructed by the Indians, and doubtless 
many in Ohio have been assigned to the epoch of the former, 
when in reality they belonged to the latter." 

This has always been my opinion, although, to tell the truth, 
I have not made this a special study either theoretically or prac- 

Mr. MacLean, in his book above named, has also discussed 
at length a number of frauds which have from time to time come 
to light in such investigations. 

It reminds me so forcibly - of the following scene from the 
"Antiquary" of Sir Walter Scott, that I cannot resist the tempta- 
tion to transcribe the latter or at least part of it. We find Monk- 
barns or Oldbuck explaining to his young friend Lovel the situa- 
tion of the'whole and of the different parts of what he chose to 
believe, and to declare to be, a camp of Julius Agricola and he 
had come to say: 

" And from this very Prsetorium — 

A voice from behind interrupted his ecstatic description— 
'Praetorian here. Praetorian there, I mind the bigging o't.' 

(It was Edie Ochiltree, the beggar, or Blue-gown.) 

' What is that you say, Edie?' said Oldbuck hoping, perhaps. 


that his ears had betrayed their duty: 'What were you speaking 
about?' 'About this bit bourock, your honor,' answered the un- 
daunted Edie; 'I mind the biggingo't.' 

'The devil you do! Why, you old fool, it was here before you 
were born, and will be after you are hanged, man!' 

' Hanged or drowned, here or awa, dead or alive, I mind the 
bigging o't.'" Antiquary Chapt. IV. 

Well, we can not exactly say that we mind the "bigging o't" 
but we dare say that we find that great enthusiasm is often very 
much mistaken, and though we would not feel like disputing the 
views of others in this matter, we would hesitate to credit all the 
stories, inferences, theories and speculations connected with anti- 
quarian researches of this and of every other kind. 

I cannot omit a laughable fraud committed by a man entirely 
unprepared, as most people must have thought, to have produced 
the results of it, but who, owing to the ignorance of his neighbors, 
was considered to have actually made his pretended discoveries. 


David Wyrick, of Newark, Ohio, was an uneducated man, 
but on the subject of mathematics he possessed decided ability. 
He had held the office of county surveyor until he was forced to 
retire on account of long continued attacks of rheumatism. He 
was regarded as an eccentric character and incapable of deliberate 
deception. He had adopted the idea, that the Hebrews were the 
builders of the earthworks of the West, and as often as his disease 
would permit, he sought diligently for proofs of his theory. His 
first discovery was made during the month of June 1860. This dis- 
covery consisted in what is known as the "Newark Holy Stone ," and 
was found about a mile southwest of the town, near the center of 
an artificial depression common among earthworks. As soon as 
he found it, he ran away to the town, and there with exultation 
exhibited it as a triumphant proof of his Hebrew Theory. 

Upon examination it proved to be a Masonic emblem, repre- 
senting "the Key Stone," of an arch, formerly worn by Master Ma- 
sons. The Hebrew inscription has been thus rendered into Eng- 
lish: " The law of God, the word of God, the King of the Earth, 
is most holy." The stone did not have the appearance of antiq- 
qity, and probably was accidentally dropped into the depression 


and then covered over by the accumulation of loam and vegetable 
matter continually washed into the center of the cavity. 

Wyrick continued his researches and soon made a startling 
discovery. During the summer of 1860, with three other persons, 
he repaired to the spot where the stone mound h«d stood, and 
there dug up the trough, which had been re-entombed by the 
farmers in 1860. In the following November Wyrick, with five 
other men, met at this spot and made still further examinations. 
They found several articles of stone, among which was a stone box, 
enclosing an engraved tablet. Upon one side of the tablet there 
is a savage and pugnacious likeness of Moses, with this name in 
Hebrew over his head. Upon the other side of this stone is an 
abridgment in Hebrew of the ten commandments. Archaeologists 
never had much faith in the Holy Stone, and the discovery of 
Moses and the Ten Commandments soon established Wyrick's 
character as an impostor. Not long after he died, and in his priv- 
ate room, among the valuable relics he had so zealously collected, 
a Hebrew Bible was found which fully cleared up the mystery of 
Hebrew inscriptions " even in Ohio." This had been the secret 
and study of years, by a poverty stricken and suffering man, who 
in some respects, was almost a genius. His case presents the 
human mind in one of its most mysterious phases, partly aberra- 
tion, partly fraud. 

There are numerous other instances of fraud and several of 
doubts and contentions as to the genuineness of certain relics also 
mentioned in Mr. MacLean's book. In consideration of these, and 
in the absence of any specific object to disagree about I am wil- 
ling to assent temporarily, to any plausible theories about the 
mounds in Buffalo County. I do not, however, wish to have it 
understood, that I deny the existence of mounds of the ancient 
race prior to the Indians, but that I am inclined to be cautious in 
my own assertions about them. Mr. MacLean says: "It is a fact 
that a person may start out with a theory, and soon he will be 
overwhelmed with proof- Relics of Mound-Builders and relics of 
Indians, that is arte-facts ascribed to either of the two races do 
not to unpracticed eyes present such differences as to distinguish 
them very easily from each other, although experts assert that 
they can do so very readily. Pipes, supposed to be of Mound- 
builder origin the reader will find described under the head of 


Indians, where I mention the use of tobacco among them; at the 
same time some remarks as to those pipes which are claimed to 
belong to the one or the other of the two consecutive races that 
have preceded the white race upon this continent. Other .imple- 
ments found in prehistoric mounds and in the neighborhood of 
such are: 
Arrow-Heads, of which Mr. MacLean mentions eight sorts, each 

different in shape. 
Spear-Heads, of three different kinds according to their uses and 

Rimmers, that is instruments for perforating stone implements. 

They are of flint or quartz. 
Knives, instruments for cutting by hand, in combat or ordinary 

Axes or Hatchets, cutting by blows, employing weight to exert force. 
Not abundant in the mounds, and mostly found along paths 
in the valleys. The best specimen ever seen by me was the 
one dug up in running the deep cut on the sandprairie, 
near Fred Richter's place. It was large, well-shaped, and 
sharp, of a greenish glassy stone. Some of the axes were 
adze-shaped and used in digging out troughs, canoes and 
similar things. 
Hammers or Mauls. They were furnished with an indented rim at 
or near the middle for fastening the handle in the manner 
described under the head of Indians. 
Pestles or Mullers. The only specimen I saw is in possession of 
Wm. Finkelnburg, Esq., of Winona, Minn. They were 
used for disintegrating corn and other grain more or less 
Wedges or Fleshers. They are mostly of a hard, close-grained and 
almost polished black stone, sharpened at one end, from 
one to two inches in diameter, the body cylindrical but 
rounded off on top. They were probably used for separat- 
ing the hides from the carcasses, and bark from the trees. 
They may also be called chisels, and are -from two to six or 
more inches in length. 
Sinkers. They are usually triangular, with rounded points, and 
may have served as weights' for sinking fishing nets, ailso for 
stretching yarn in' making nets and mats. Mr, MacLean 


considers them as badges of authority, worn in a conspicu- 
ous place, possibly on string around the neck as they are 
nicely perforated near the smaller end. 
Pottery. Pots used for cooking and other purposes, made of a 
darkish clay, sometimes mixed with fragments of small 
shells. Probably formed inside a basket which was burnt 
in the baking. 
Pipes were the objects upon which the Mound-Builders expended 
the greatest skill and labor, and I _am inclined to say the 
same for Indians. As pipes and smoking naturally relate 
to tobacco, I have said as much about them in speaking of 
that weed, as I thought proper. 
Sculptures with the exception of pipes have not, as far as I am 
aware, been discovered of that origin in this county. Be- 
sides the attempt at an exact representation of natural ob- 
jects according to their understanding, nothing seems to 
have been attempted, and the most wonderful thing about 
it is, that they succeeded so well without any proper tools 
and arrangements for their work. 
After having, as I may say, re-opened this subject I suppose 
the reader wagts to know the opinions as to who these Mound- 
Builders were, what became of them, and why they did not re- 
main in the countries, where the testimonies of their former exist- 
ence are yet found. 

I have above remarked that it is usually conceded that the 
Indians were not their descendants and I gave the reasons above 
for this concession. But it must also be conceded that the habit 
of smoking tobacco, and providing implements for this process, is 
common to both Mound Builders and Indians. The other similar- 
ity is that of their tools and instruments for different purposes.- 
It is true that experts say that there is a difference, but I can not 
believe that anyone, however enthusiastic, will insist on this dif- 
ference being generic. I do not mean to say that the Indians are 
the descendants, or otherwise near relations, of the Mound Build- 
ers, but there is a remarkable similarity in some essential points. 
Mr. Mac Lean,, like many others, leans to the opinion that the 
To) tecs of Mexico, the predecessors of the Aztec population found 
by the Spaniards in that country, were the descendants of the 
Mound Builders. There are perhaps enough similarities between 


them to cause such a belief, but how about the dissimilarities? 
Do we really know enough of either Mound Builders or Toltecs to 
decide upon the point? The possibility can not be disputed, there 
are even some foundations of probability, bit whether it is a fact, 
we may doubt. This involves the necessary supposition that the 
Indians drove the Toltecs out of this country, but if so, why did 
they not follow them into the one which must have appeared to 
them decidedly the better one? The Toltecs could not have pre- 
vented it. It is true that the Aztecs might intervene, but who 
drove the latter out? 

The theory that the Mound Builders were the descendants of 
the " Lost tribes of Israel" is met by the objection, that there never 
were any tribes of Israel lost. That the Israelites were scattered 
among the nations of Asia and Europe we know, but that they 
were lost, whole tribes of them, across any ocean, is not only impos- 
sible, but there is not the slightest evidence for it. When the 
Israelites were scattered among other nations they had a knowl- 
edge of Iron and other metals, and probably know how to work 
and procure them. Nothing beyond copper, known to have been 
found pure, even up to the time of European discovery and after- 
wards, has been found of metals in mounds and monuments of 
this departed race. This theory rested on the crude and fanciful 
interpretation of some verses in the New Testament, upon which 
a system was built up, that was not only erroneous, but very often 
intentionally fraudulent, as we see from the operations of David 
Wyrick related above. 

The theory of these prehistoric remajns belonging to the de- 
scendants of an almost mythological prince or captain of Welsh 
origin, Modoc, and his followers, has not so much as a shadow of 
demonstrability, even admitting their legendary existence. 

It may not be very flattering to our pride, and archaeologists 
and enthusiasts of that ilk may be offended at the ccnclusion, but 
I mean to be honest, and with special application to the case on 
hand, I say: 

" All that we know is, nothing can be known." (Childe Har- 
old, Canto II, VII.) If now, in apparent contradiction with the 
above, I continue speculation on the origin of the Mound Build- 
ers, the reader will excuse it, because where there is no cer- 
tainty, not, perhaps, even sufficient ground tp build a- consistent 


hypothesis upon, there is naturallj' so much more room, and an 
irresistible inclination to speculate, that is to find some plausible 
explanation for existing facts, and because I have not yet said 
anything concerning another theory of the origin of that mysteri- 
ous race, which I have already alluded to at the beginning, viz: 
Their descent from some people or race that once inhabited the 
supposed Atlantis, the great island or group of islands, some are 
inclined to call it a continent, located in the north central part of 
the great Atlantic Ocean. Ancient writings mention this land 
complex, some even indicate that the Carthageniens, the greatest 
maritime explorers of ancient times, had made commercial voy- 
ages to these happy islands, and the existence of this Atlantis had 
a great influence pro and contra, in the discussions connected 
with the propositions maintained by Columbus at the Spanish 
Court before his first voyage. It was then supposed to have sunk 
below the water, as it certainly had passed from the actual knowl- 
edge of the civilized nations of that period. Some theorists main- 
tained that there was a strong probability of a remnant of the in- 
habitants having escaped westwards, as they certainly must have 
possessed such knowledge-of navigation as was common to their 
supposed age, and probably also were acquainted with the exist- 
ence of a western continent. Admitting for the sake of argument 
all I have stated of this departed race, it is nevertheless entirely 
improbable, that they were the Mound Builders or their ancestors. 
Their civilization, if they had any, was most probably, similar to 
the European or at least to the Carthagenian of their time, includ- 
ing a knowledge of iron and other metals, and also of such grdins 
as were cultivated around the basin of the Mediterranean Sea 
during the time when the power of the Carthagenian Republic or 
Kingdom was at its undisputed height. But we find nothing of 
the kind among the mounds, nor among the Indians, and it is al- 
most impossible that no such traces should have been preserved. 
The universal custom of smoking tobacco, which must be attri- 
buted to Mound Builders as well as to Indians, was entirely un- 
known to the nations of antiquity ; so also was maize and its use 
and culture. This seems to be decisive against that theory or 
hypothesis, and the reader may take his choice, in doubting either 
the existence of Atlantis, or the transmigration of its inhabitants 
to the Western Continent. Tradition, indeed, does not favor the 


transmigration, insisting that the land or islands had been sud- 
denly swallowed up by the ocean, even maintaining that the sea 
by this engulfing of land had become so thick with mud as to be 
unnavigable; a superstition prevalent at the time of Columbus 
and only dispelled by the discoveries of the I^ortuguese and Span- 
iards shortly before and after his own discoveries, probably finally 
by the voyages of Vasco de Gama to the East Indies and that of 
Magellan around the world. 

I think I have now exhausted the subject as much as could be 
expected in a book not specially devoted to that purpose, and after 
recurring to it so often, might close. But the matter would hardly 
be properly disposed of without mentioning the fact that the 
weapons, implements and pottery found in ancient monuments of 
prehistoric races in the Old World, that is, in Europe, Asia and 
Africa, bear a close resemblance to those found in mounds here. 
This, however, cannot be construed into any connection of the. two 
worlds, or their inhabitants in prehistoric times, but may easily be 
accounted for by the common necessity of all mankind of making 
the best of circumstances, and using for tools of any kind such 
materials as were to be found, and could be shaped for certain pur- 
poses. In fact it was the discovery of stone implements, especi- 
ally axes, in the valley of the river Somme in France by Boucher 
de Crevecoeur de Perthes, which' gave the first impulse to prehis- 
toric investigations in Europe. 

Note: — The river Sorame, from which a department of France 
has its name, rises in one of the northern valleys of the Ardennes, 
north of the Oise, and flows in a northwesterly direction into the 
English Channel southwest of Dover Strait. 


The reader may already have noticed that I am inclined to 
consider the Indians, or some of them, as the originators of the 
monuments usually ascribed to the so-called Mound Builders, and 
will excuse addition of some new proofs that others, and quite 
respectable authorities, sustain this view of the matter. 

Dr. P. R. Hoy of Racine in a paper read before the Wisconsin 
Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, and contained in Vol. IV 
of the Transactions, after giving numerous proofs to .sustain his 
statement, says : 

"Then the mode of burial is still the same, mostly in a sitting 


posture, surrounded by their worldly v.realth, and supplied with a 
sufficiency of food to feed the hungry soul on the long road to the 
happy hunting ground. I should like to see that anatomist who 
can distinguish the crania (skulls) taken from mounds from those' 
procured from Indian graves. The skulls from mounds differ just 
as much and just as little as do those of the present tribes of Ind- 
ians. I obtained a skull of a Pottawatomie chief (it is now in the 
U. S. A. medical museum at Washington) which is one of the 
largest known. It is very symmetrical also, the capacity being 
1785 cubic centimeters (about 114 cubic inches); maximum length, 
188.9 (millimeters), maximum breadth 16-3.9 mm., circumference 
555.6 mm., facial angle 75 degrees; measured and photographed by 
order of the Surgeon General. I had a second Pottawatomie cran- 
ium that is as unlike the above as possible, the capacity being 40 
cubic inches less, facial angle 70 degrees. In view of the foregoing 
evidence, the legitiuiate conclusion must follow, that the " Mound 
Builders " were Indians, and nothing but Indians, the immediate 
ancestors of the present tribes as well as many other Indians that 
formerly were scattered over this country. 

Differing in habits of life and language, just as the Indians of 
the several tribes did before the white man changed them, they 
continued to build mounds after they had communication with 
Europeans, since which time mound building, together with many 
many of the arts of the red man, such as making wampum, flint, 
stone and copper implements, pottery, etc., have declined and 
finally nearly or quite ceased. 



Mankind in general have an irresistible desire to pry into the 
past and into the future, and it is only sensible, slow, prosaic and 
unimaginative people that can sometimes suppress this morbid 
curiosity. The historian, being obliged to narrate what is usually 
called, history, that is past events, things gone by, having been 
enacted in times more or less remote, feels it his duty to d.escend 
into the sepulcher of the past, and look after the peoples and com- 
munities, tribes and nations, generations and centuries that are 
buried there. Some of these have left marks and monuments, or 
writings and documents, from which themselves and their actions, 
their accomplishments, their fate and destiny may be known. I 
do not mean to speak of these here, although the common accept- 
ance is, that we have marks and monuments of a race, of which 
even the long-lived, much cherished, and greatly coveted tra- 
ditions of the Indians do not tell us a single word. Within this 
county, or within the visible horizon of the highest bluff in this 
county, we have an acknowledged mark or monument of this race 
and if the Mound Builders find any place in this history, it is 
rather to explain the significance of their name, than the traces 
discovered of them here. But I want to speal^ of the Indian, of 
that species of the genus "Homo," of which we have seen numer- 
ous individuals in times yet scarcely past, and of which we even 
now sometimes meet the stragglers and laggards of an armyj 
which, as far as our own neighborhood is concerned, has disap- 
peared, has vanished, never to return. I cannot mention this fact 
without admitting and deploring that this annihilation of a whole 
race, so to speak, is largely, if not exclusively due to the aggres- 
sions and encroachments, open and secret, of another race, the one 
to which we ourselves belong. According to the laws and customs 
of our own race the. Indian was the rightful owner and possessor 
of the whole of the American continent no matter whether any 
one, or none, of the several tribes or nations had a title or estab- 


lished right to the precise spot upon which they were met by the 
intruders. It cannot be my intention, nor is it possible in this 
book, to discuss the Indian question. 

Although the Indian has scarcely disappeared from our im- 
mediate view and although even long ago white men, the more or 
less acceptable or reputable representatives of a civilization, of 
which the nations to which they belonged were unquestionably 
proud, have been among the Red men, yet we have comparatively 
few books or documents relating to this intercourse, and of these 
only a small portion possess any authority or deserve credence. 
Not that there is not a multiplicity of works on early explorations, 
on life amdhg the Indians, on their character and circumstances, 
their habitat and history (supposed), but the great majority of 
these works are simply copies, real or pretended, of the few origi- 
nal ones, interspersed with anecdotes and adventures very often 
totally irrelative of the subject pretended to be discussed in the 
work. Hence it is uncommonly difficult to give something on the 
interesting subject of the "Indians" deserving the name of history 
As an example of the way history is sometimes treated or mal- 
treated I need only refer to the history attached to the "Atlas of ■ 
the State of Minnesota" published in 1874, in which there is per- 
haps sufficient information of the Dakotas or Sioux, but not a 
word of the Chippewas. It is true that Hole-in-the-day (Jr.) did 
fortunately, not make such an extraordinary disturbance, as his 
treacherous and bloody contemporary. Little Crow, but why it 
should be forgotten, that the former remained the steadfast friend 
of his white neighbors, while the latter carried murder, rapine 
and destruction among those on his side of the line, I do not un- 
derstand. This is only one instance. 

" We might go to our own state atlas, issued in 1876 by Wal- 
ling, and find that all of the history given relates to Green Bay 
and Prairie du Chien, and to the Langlades and Grignons. 

The historian, who is honestly and diligently exploring the 
fountains of his narrative, must therefore be excused, if he grows' 
cautious even to the verge of scepticism. 


We can not know anything about the Indians, except from 
early explorers; hence the questions arise: 
1. Who were tliese early explorers? 


2. What capacity and prepatation for the work did they 

3. What reliance naay be put in their reports ? 

4. What reasons may be alleged for or against their cred- 
ibility ? 

In answer to the first question, we must say that they were, 
first and last. Frenchmen, and that they must be divided into two 
classes: Traders and Missionaries. Each of these classes had 
many peculiarities, of capacity, education, opportunity and pur- 
pose of investigation, and of rendering a full or a more partisan 
reports. I think it is well to consider them under separate heads. 


As the name implies they came to trade with the Indians, 
that is to exchange commodities for which the Indians might show 
a desire for the productions of Indian industry. The trader had 
to look to two essential conditions, profit and security. The ven- 
ture was great, the profit might be enormous, but that depended 
on the security of life and property. The trader was usually a 
man of considerable means, of corresponding influence, and neces- 
sarily surrounded by a crowd of adventurous dependents, who 
traveled into remote parts to procure the desirable articles. The 
principal articles for which the trade was undertaken were the 
furs of different animals, especially the beaver. From this fact 
the trade was called the fur-trade. Other articles were incidental 
aggregations, but the trade in Beaver-skins was for a long time of 
such importance, that these skins became the standard of value 
for every thing bought, sold, or exchanged. In order to procure 
■the articles of trade, to conclude bargains, gain possession of ad- 
vantageous posts and for intercourse in general, it was necessary 
to learn something, at least enough for the purposes of trade, of 
the language of every tribe. On this knowledge depended much 
more than the mere traffic, and it may be imagined that every 
possessor of a trading post had at least onfe person about him, 
who was a competent interpreter. The necessity of remaining 
sometimes for years at the same post, as well as amorous propen- 
sities, soon led to family relations between the trading people and 
the Indians, that is, most traders and dependents married Indian 
women. We may differ in our opinions about the morals involved 
in such marriages, but we must all agree, that they afforded op- 


portunities of acquiring a through knowledge of language, man- 
ners, conditions, traditions and all the more obscure facts about 
Indians, such as would not, or but imperfectly, be observed in any 
other position. As far as opportunities were concerned, the trad- 
ers were in the most favorable situation; they were among the 
Indians, they had time, and their very existence depended mostly 
upon their intimate knowledge of Indian characteristics. But as 
to rendering a report on their experiences and observations the 
traders and their dependents were, as a class, but little fitted 
to produce anything reliable. Most of them were illiterate, some 
to the lowest possibility. VA^e can not be surprised at that, when 
we consider that in the sixteenth, seventeenth and even the eight- 
eenth century popular education in France can not possibly have 
had any existence, that all literary education was confined to the 
higher classes the nobility, the clergy and the rich, and not even 
very creditable among the majority of these. The trader, that is 
the actual merchant, we may call him "Bourgeois," or " Sieur," or 
" Seignieur," had some knowledge of mercantile affairs, and may 
be generally credited with the accomplishments of reading and 
writing, though it was notorious that some of the class did not 
possess, and did not even value these accomplishments, which, at 
least in the immediate trafBc, were of but little consequence. 

Another cause, which prevented the reports from traders, was 
the natural tendency of mercantile operations to court secrecy, in 
order to elude competition. Possibly, though perhaps there was 
scarcely any occasion for it, reports from this quarter were sup- 
pressed by the national jealousy between the French and English, 
which was especially active in the French government of colonies,- 
and for which there was cause enough, on account of the adjoin- 
ing New England colonies. So we find that those who were in the 
best position to know, did not furnish much information, which 
is the more to be regretted, as there were numerous causes of prej- 
udice animating the other class of explorers, but which were less 
potent, or entirely absent among the trad,er8. 


Of these we must remember that they were French, Catholics, 
Clericals, and Celibates. The first two of these qualifications they 
had in common with the traders and their dependents and 
these same qualifications placed the Missionaries under the gov- 


ernment and protection of the Representatives of the Royal Power 
of Prance. The missionaries being professedly non-combatants, 
had to rely on that protection much more extensively than the 
traders, who were supposed to provide for themselves in cases of 
emergencies, and whose arms and combativeness probably furn- 
ished as much protection to the Lilies of the Bourbons, as the 
same flowers could be expected to afford to them. The character 
of the missionaries as Clericals and Celibates seems to have made 
them more independent of worldly affairs than the traders, and 
to have put them on a basis of impartial judgment. Yet, while 
they were on one point put on a more independent basis, they 
were, especially by being celibates, put at a disadvantage as far as 
observation was concerned. They were, in a somewhat opprobri- 
ous sense considered as intruders, who could hot share, but might 
misrepresent, family life among Indians. Their aim was not so 
much to reform, but to overturn the entire fabric of what- may 
have been superstitions, but were, nevertheless, actual parts, traits 
and motives of Indian life. How could they have reformed, what 
was to them an abomination? For many of these disadvantages 
their zeal and devotion supplied remedies, and if their theorj'' 
was austere, their practice has been found to have been accom- 
modating itself to circumstances. A number of them had been 
people of the world and had made different kinds of experience 
before entering their orders; and such frequently found occasion 
to utilize their experience in the council of their convict, in their 
own conduct, and in regulating the conduct of their converts, and 
their zeal was not altogether without that discretion, which made 
fhem not only obedient instruments, but also close and able ob- 
servers. Yet, when we contemplate their preconceived ideas, their 
doctrinal obstinacy, aad their ascetic tendency, according to which 
they sometimes condemned the most innocent manifestations of 
nature, we will feel inclined to look upon their reports and rela- 
tions of Indian life and manners with an eye of caution, if not 
actual suspicion. As far as their own personal sincerity is con- 
cerned, at least as it relates to the earliest Jesuits in the New 
World, I am incliaed to agree with Parkman, and concede the 
point. We find, however, that some of these monks, Jesuits and 
Franciscans, were not above a desire of appropriating to them- 
selves the achievements of others, B^atrjples of this you will 


find in the histories of La Salle and Du Luth. In regard to liter- 
ary capability and preparation for their labor and especially the 
task now under consideration, they were widely different, the Jes- 
uits as a rule far superior to the Franciscans. The Jesuits being 
known and acknowledged as superior scholastics, we may turn to 
their opponents, the Franciscans, who were of the two peculiar 
degrees or sub-orders called Capuchins and Recollects. The Cap- 
uchins were professed " ignorantes," that is, they considered sec- 
ular knowledge as detrimental to supernatural virtue. They were 
an order of mendicants, subsisting ostentatiously upon charity. 
The Recollects or Recollets were similar, though probably of a 
different habit or mode of clothing. Of the latter we find that 
Hennepin, who belonged to that order, was the author of a book, . 
hence they probably were themselves or admitted to their ranks, 
men of scholastic acquirements. Their religious tenets being alike, 
we. may omit their discussion. It is worthy of remark, that there 
was a pronounced disinclination on the part of the traders towards 
the ecclesiastics, but more so towards the Jesuits than the Fran- 
ciscans. Devout Catholics they all were, at least professedly, and 
educated in the veneration of the priests or monks, and this dis- 
tinct antagonism. is well worth contemplation, though the causes 
have nothing to do with this matter. As it was, it certainly in- 
fluenced their mutual relations to each other and the Indians, and 
possibly colored some of the narratives from either side. And, 
since the ecclesiastics were almost the only historians, we must 
bring this antagonism into account in the formation of our judg- 
ment regarding the Indians. 

What has been said relates mainly to the very earliest peri- 
ods of exploration, and does not locally extend to our part of the 
country. It is, nevertheless, important as'the most reliable source 
of a knowledge of the original Indian character, and of the habitat 
of some of the Indian tribes or nations, who subsequently were 
domiciled upon, or claimed prescriptive possession of, the very 
soil upon which we are now living. There was always a wide dif- 
ference in these reports, and although the older ones are certainly 
preferable, yet we must come to the conclusion, that most of them 
were written to support certain theories, and that the remarks of 
Parkman in regard to later writers on the subject might to a cer- 
tain degree be applicable to all these histories and not only to the 


particular investigations concerning the religion of the Indians. 
He says: 

" Many observers have interpreted the religious ideas of the 
Indians after preconceived ideas of their own, and it may safely 
be'afl&rmed that an Indian will respond with a grunt of acquies- 
cence to any question whatever touching his spiritual state. 
Loskiel and the simple-minded Heckewelder write from a mis- 
sionary point of view; Adair to support a theory of descent from 
the Jews; the worthy theologian, Jarvis, to maintain his dogma, 
that all religious ideas of the heathen world are perversions of 
revelation; and so, in a greater or less degree, of many others. By 
far the most close and accurate observers of Indian superstitions 
{and character) were the French and Italian Jesuits of the first 
half of the seventeenth century. Their • opportunities were un- 
rivalled; and they used them in a spirit of faithful inquiry, ac- 
cumulatirig facts, and leaving theory to their successors." 

With this quotation I may dismiss the tnissionaries as ex- 
plorers. I think that in the above the 2d, 3d and 4th of my ques- 
tions have been, incidentally, but fully, answered. 


We come now to a source of trouble originating in the dif- 
ference of languages, the French and the English on one side, and 
the different tongues and dialects of the Indians on the other. In 
the transitions from the Indian into the French and from that 
into the English the names of Indian tribes or nations have 
been so much disfigured, that it may be set down as a fact, 
that very often authors spoke of what they did but imper- 
fectly know, and what might have been something or some- 
body else. The Indians having no written language in ,,the 
modern acceptation of the term, the French in writing about 
any particular nation or about its location and other- things con- 
nected therewith, tried to imitate the sounds of the Indian names 
and as their language is almost devoid of any gutturals, they 
could not express such sounds very closely. 

It does not possess, for instance, the sound or letter of W, but 
we find them trying to represent that sound by ou, which, how- 
ever, in most words of their own language has not a consonant 
but a vowel sound, the same as oo in boots, and was certainly a 
poor substitute in such words as Wisconsin = Ouis-con-sin. In 


|same word the last syllable, according to their own language 
it be pronounced sang. We find in this one word an example 
of the transmission of Indian names, which convinces us that our 
present pronunciation of them is not at all reliable. We find 
another familiar instance in the word Sioux, in which even ac- 
cording to their own orthography the letter i is without any func- 
tion, and that Soux would answer the purpose as to pronuncia- 
tion, admitting the x as a silent sign of the plural. The diflBculty 
thickens when we come to the interpretations. In such cases, 
however, the French circumvented the difficulty frequently by 
adopting the names suggested by localities or by the language of 
adjoining tribes. They, for instance, called the Winnebagoes, 
whose name in their own (the Winnebago) language is Ochunk- 
osaw, by a translation, or may be perversion, of the Algonquin 
word " Winebeg," meaning fetid water, naming them " Puants," 
that is "Stinkers," and, as the Winnebagoes at first lived near 
Green Bay, they called the place " Baie des Puants," though per- 
haps also "Baie Verte." Such instances might be multiplied. 

After the conquest of Canada and its surrender to the English 
these names existed and were forthwith represented in English 
orthography, always with the evident intention of rendering them 
pronounceable, or rather easy of pronunciation. Naturally they 
were subjected to further transformations or disfigurations. French 
and English orthography having during the term of a century un- 
dergone numerous changes, some of which were probably extended 
to proper nouns, we are at a loss to say which is which in the pro- 
nunciation of Indian names, and also in regard to their meaning 
or significance. Another great difficulty in the study of Indian 
history is the constant displacement of the tribes. So, for ins- 
tance, we find that after having established a temporary trading 
post at Green Bay, and having named the locality by the name 
they chose to give the first inhabitants they had met in the neigh- 
borhood, we find the French engaged in desperate feuds with the 
Foxes, a tribe not at all related to the Winnebagoes, but living 
upon the country actually occupied by the latter at an earlier date, 
■ these, the Winnebagoes, still occupying adjoining parts of the 
country, but whether in league with the Poxes, or with the French, 
we have to guess. 

Similar to these dislodgements, and usually the cause of them 


were the warlike excursions of some of the preponderating Indian 
nations.. The most conspicuous of these were the Iroquois of 
New York, a confederacy of five distinct nations, who came shortly 
after the visit of Jean Nicollet, up to Wisconsin and defeated the 
Winnebagoes, and, at the same or some later time, also the Foxes 
on Rock River. The same powerful confederacy had driven the 
Sacs and Poxes from their ancient possessions in the southern 
peninsula of Michigan. 

These incidents are cited to give an idea of the tangled mass 
of facts, reports and traditions, of which what we term Indian 
history consists. Speaking of the three tribes or nations, which 
afterwards claimed or, after the Indian custom possessed the soil 
which now is within the boundaries of our county, and the adjac- 
ent parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, I shall find occasion to 
point out other instances of uncertainties and contradictions. 
Some of the above remarks might have been made in the recital 
of specific explorations and settlements, and of lives of individual 
explorers, but in such cases we are in danger of wronging those 
who were probably sincere and might have been misrepresented, 
and we would not have established a standard of judgment or crit- 
icism by merely questioning individual assertions or character. I 
shall, therefore, apply but little criticism to the narratives of such 
authors, as have written about our own part of the country, un- 
less as far as they can not be included in the classes here, enumer- 
ated. Of these exceptions are Du Luth,;La Salle, and Capt. Jon- 
athan Carver the most conspicuous. 



Whenever anybody begins to speak of Indians, that is of the 
population, which as an aggregate, was found in actual occupa- 
tion of the islands as well as of the continent of North America, 
it is supposed, mentally and unconsciously, that he is speaking of 
a homogeneous body, in which every individual is simply an Ind- 
ian, a barbarous, undeveloped being, who, for the very want of 
development, must be like every other individual of his nation 
and can not possibly be different. Some people, at least, have an 
idea, or pretend to know, that in Europe we have Russians, 
Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Germans, English, French, 
Spaniards, Italians, Greeks and Turks, Hungarians, Croatians, 
Bohemians, and Polanders, besides a number of small national- 
ities, such as Irish, Gaeles, Basques and similar, but for most peo- 
ple it seems to be incomprehensible that there should be as many 
if not more, Indian nations as there are European ones. In the 
same way it might occur to most people, from analogy, that the 
Indian nations might be grouped by some common distinction of 
certain ones of them, not possessed by certain others. Without 
going any deeper- than the most obvious differences, we find in 
Europe three or four principal groups of peoples or nationalities, 
distinguished from each other mainly by their languages. Philol- 
ogists may have conclusive proofs of a common origin of most 
European languages, but the distinctions still exist, between Rus- 
sian, Polish, Bohemian, and Croatian, as one group, the Slavonic; 
and the German, Dutch,- Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, another, 
the Germanic or Teutonic; the French the Spanish, the Italian and 
the Greek, as the Grecco-Romanic; the Hungarian or Magyar, 
Turkish and Finnish as the Tartaric; with several languages, each 
made up principally of elements thrown together from two groups, 
as the English, from Germanic and Romanic elements, with a few 
others not conveniently to be arranged into either group. In a 
similar manner the Indian languages of this continent may be 
grouped and the tribes or nationalities arranged into the groups 


principally according to their languages or dialects, for in our stage 
of actual knowledge possessed of any of the Indian languages, 
defunct, or still existing,, it is probably not safe to draw a very 
sharp line between language and dialect. In the investigations 
incident to procuring a sufficient knowledge of those Indian tribes 
or nations, whom I shall have to mention at some length, I have 
discovered, that in this as in every other matter " doctors disagree." 

In regard to such disagreements there is but little chance for 
a successful appeal, as the material for investigation is rapidly 
disappearing, and I have therefore concluded to adhere to such 
distinctions for the formation of the groups, as are least disputed 
and easiest of understanding, and shall use for the different na- 
tions or tribes such names as are generally accepted. Leaving out 
the Southern Indians, those who usually dwelt below the line 
drawn from the headwaters of the southern branch of the Ohio 
River, the Monongahela, to the northern end of Chesapeake Bay, 
and designating those who dwelt up North from that line, and a 
line formed by the Ohio, the Missouri and the Platte River, and 
between the Atlantic Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, as Northern 
Indians, we may, by affinity of language, divide them into the 
following four groups : 

I. Algonquins, originally along the coast of the ocean, along 
both sides of St. Lawrence River up to the Sorel, thence only on 
the northside and thence on the eastside of the lakes, probably in 
the northern peninsula and the greater part of the southern pen- 
insula of Michigan, thence to the Wisconsin River and below that 
on the east side of the Mississippi, down to the Ohio and up the 
Alleghany River to the mouth of French Creek, thence up that 
creek to Chautauqua Lake not far from the southern shore of Lake 
Erie, about one fourth of the whole length of that shore west from 
Bufifalo, and from that point east parallel to the former line. The 
tribes or nations belonging to that group were the following: 

a. In the East: Abenakis, Mohigans, Wampaiiogs, Pequods, 
Narragansetts, and Micmacs. 

b. Upon the St. Lawrence: Montagnais, (somewhere on the 
lower stream on either side,) Ottawas, on that river and its islands, 
the Nipissings around the lake of the same name, and further 
north on the east side of the lake the Ojibways of Sault Ste. Mary. 

c. On the Upper Lakes, that is, Lake Superior and Lake Mi- 


chigan: North of Lake Superior and towards Hudson's Bay the 
Knistenau, on the Upper Peninsula some Ojib ways, and on the river 
of the same name the Menomonees. 

On the Lower Peninsula the Sacs and Foxes and possibly the 
Miamis. On the westside of Lake Michigan, south along shore, 
the Patawattomies, and further west the Mascoutins and Kikapoes, 
south of them the Illinois, who are supposed to have been a con- 
federation of numerous tribes speaking Algonkin dialects; farther 
east in Indiana and Ohio were probably the original quarters of 
the Miamis. 

d. From the headwaters of the Ohio to the Atlantic east, 
were the Shawanese, the Powhattans and the Leni Lenape or Dela- 

II. The Iroquois-Huron-Nation. 

They were located within the circle formed by the Algonquin 
tribes enumerated above, and distinct from them in language, 
manners of living, government and customs. They consisted of 
five distinct tribes, the Mohawks, Onondagas, Oneidas, Cayugas, 
and Senecas. The Fries and the Kat-Kaws or Neutrals spoke the 
same language or some dialect of it, but did not belong to the 
confederacy. The same may be said of the Hurons, who lived 
beyond the Iroquois boundary, on the eastern shores of the straits 
connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie, mostly on the shores of 
Georgian Bay. This group does not inaterially interfere with 
Indians living on or in the neighborhood of our territory, and are 
only remarkable as furnishing a precedent of Indian government 
and clanship which repeated itself among other groups, notably 
among the Dakotas. 

III. The Dakotas or Sioux. This group of which there will 
be occasion to speak at length hereafter, was situated mostly on 
the westside but contiguous to the Mississippi. 

IV. The Winnebago Confederation. 

This nation may be said to have occupied, in general terms, 
the country between the Wisconsin, the Chippewa, and the Mis- 
sissippi rivers. They called themselves O-chunk-o-saw and claimed 
relationship with the lowas, the Omahas and the Ponkas. By 
some writers they are classed with the Dakotas, but they denied 
the relationship. I find that by a late philologist they are classed 
with the Dakota stock, their language being by him called Hot- 


can'gara, a n3,me not too remote from the other to confirm their 
own appellation of 0-chunk-o-saw, the word Hotcan'gara, being a 
Dakota corruption. This nation being one of the three demand- 
ing especial notice, it may here be passed over. In the above 
enumeration I do not mean to claim I exhausted the subject, nor 
that I could not have made some mistakes. The location of most 
Indian tribes was uncertain. The weaker ones especially, were 
constantly wandering, and in their continual warfare they some- 
times made astonishing excursions, gained and lost in one short 
summer campaign sometimes more land than is included in our 
whole state. It is, however, to be remembered, that Indians of 
any name but seldom went to war for the purpose of acquiring or 
extending territory, unless entirely expatriated by a superior 


According to accepted definitions the Indians were savages; 
they lived by hunting and fishing almost exclusively. That they 
were roving and had no permanent habitation was but the result of 
their mode of subsistence. Game of any kind will become scarce 
if constantly exposed to destruction. Some of the game animals 
are regular migrators, as for instance, the buffalo, others shifted 
their haunts to elude pursuit and destruction. This mode of life 
and way of subsistence, however, was more compulsory on the 
northern Indians than on those farther south. Not only was game 
more abundant in the genial climate, more prolific and less ex- 
posed to suffering from want of nourishment, but the productions 
of the soil were more numerous and various, more reliable in their 
annual crops, and vastly more abundant in these. But how could 
Indians, savages as they were called, have any crops ? Beyond 
any question or doubt they did have crops, not only of such fruits 
and grains as might be considered growing wild, such as berries, 
plums, nuts, and wild rice, but they also had crops of Indian corn 
or maize. Not only in the warmer parts but also in the most 
northern latitudes inhabited by them, did they cultivate this kind 
of grain, in the high latitudes with very many risks and failures. 
They also raised other crops, some for subsistence, as squashes and 
pumpkins, and one, notably, for mere enjoyment, a crop of tobacco. 
Maize and tobacco were unquestionably of American origin, 
though perhaps native to the warmer climes to Central-America 


and the West-Indies. The cultivation of both extends far back 
of the discovery of the New World by Columbus or by the North- 
men. But though roving, the Indians were never truly nomadic. 
With them the usual order of development had been reversed, or 
interrupted. The Indians were still hunters and fishers when they 
practiced agriculture, and they never were herdsmen. Their only 
domestic animal was the dog, and even this one they had not yet 
learned to use for many things. Although hunting and war led 
the Indians sometimes far away, the feeble attempts at agriculture 
made by them, or for them by their women, induced them always 
to return to certain localities. It is strange that the cow and the 
horse were entirely absent when the Europeans began to plant 
colonies along the coasts. Thus the Aborigines missed the one in- 
termediate step between the savage hunter and the cultivator of 
the soil, who is at the foundation of civilization. The use of the 
milk of certain animals, which leads to the care and protection of 
such animals, and to the dependence upon the products afforded 
by them, they had never known. Nor had they ever learned to 
domesticate and to propagate an animal which exceeded them- 
selves in strength, and which could transport themselves, and their 
effects with a speed exceeding their own greatly. It may be ques- 
tioned whether the buffalo could have been domesticated and the 
milk of the cows might have been used in the same way as that 
of the common cow; if possible, it was never attempted, or at least 
no trace of such an attempt is known. There is no question, how- 
ever, in regard to the horse and its congeners; none of them were 
present af the first landing of eastern people. As to means of 
subsistence the Indians had yet to rely almost entirely upon prim- 
itive and natural resources, and as to transportation, they . had to 
rely upon the means furnished directly by nature, their own legs 
and the waterways. It is a remarkable fact, that, though the 
Indians were by dint of constant and exhaustive practice, very 
fleet walkers and runners, they still preferred the travel in canoes, 
whenever it was possible to make use of them. This sort of loco- 
motion, which can hardly claim the title of more than the lowest 
degree of navigation, coasting, in fact afforded to them the only 
convenient mode of travel and of transportation. Not that it was 
in itself an easy task, but it relieved one pair of limbs by em- 
ploying the other. 


In the chase, in fishing, in the building and propelling of the 
canoe, and in the practice of their rude and limited agriculture 
the Indians were naturally compelled to use implements. The 
implements for the chase before the introduction of European art- 
icles of any kind, were bows and arrows, stone hatchets and stone 
knives, and lances, which like the arrows were tipped or headed 
with stone. The shape of these lance-heads and arrow-heads is 
familiar to the present generation in our part of the country; 
knives also, and hatchets, and axes were found at numerous pla- 
ces. The stone hatchet resembled the hatchets of our days only 
in having a sharp edge on one side and a hammer on the opposite, 
but was essentially different from them in the way of attaching or 
fastening the handle to it. In our hatchets the handle goes 
through the hatchet, in the stone hatchet the hatchet went through 
the handle, that is through an opening in the same, and the 
handle was fastened to the hatchet by the parts fitting into a rim 
all round the hatchet. Considering that the only implements for 
making a suitable opening in the handle consisted of stone knives, 
some of which might occasionally serve as saws, it is quite reason- 
able to think that the handle consisted of two parts for at least 
most of its length and that these parts were fastened by the cords" 
or sinews of animals killed in the chase. To the hainmer or the 
axe the handle had to be fastened in the same way. The club, 
which might be as serviceable in the chase as in a fight, was a more 
secondary implement, which sometimes might be found ready- 
made, or requiring but little preparation. 

For fishing the implements were the book, the spear and the 
net. Hooks were made of bones. The bones of fishes and the 
antlers of deer furnish some natural shapes for these hooks and 
they were extensively used. As we do not find that the Indians 
used any fibres of other plants, except the bast of trees or roots 
finely divided, and possibly some long and fine grasses, we must 
come to the conclusion that the lines used for angling and for 
weaving or knitting nets were of the same materials. Hiawatha 
in his fishing used a line of cedar, which must have been exceed- 
ingly strong, since it could not be broken by the pike, nor by the 
sun fish strong and heavy as they must have been, making the 
birch canoe stand on end as each in turn pulled on the line. But 
to come down to well authenticated facts, we find that the Hurons 


used nets for fishing in their lake, and may reasonably conclude 
that these nets were large. It is also certain that they had nets 
before the French came among them, for though the missionaries 
were the first to give the necessary testimony in the matter, they 
already found a custom among the Indians, which was immed- 
iately connected with the net-fishing and certainly very ancient. 
This custom, annually performed for the propitiation of the man- 
itou of the lake or of the fishes, was the marriage of two virgins 
to his mightiness. The missionaries, well aware of the almost 
promiscuous intercouse of the sexes among the Hurons very 
sagely intimate that the brides were always very young, in fact 
mere children, in order to make sure of the imperative condition 
of the charm. This marriage, however, was merely symbolical, 
the young brides each taking hold of one end or corner of the net 
until the address to their supposed bridegroom by some chief was 
over. The ceremony indicates the antiquity of the use of nets. 
The spear used by the Indians for fishing is at the present day, 
and seems to have always been a single one, not a pronged instru- 
ment, as used for similar purposes by white men. It was prob- 
ably made of the antlers of deer, and arranged in a manner to 
come off its pole, if the fish made unexpected resistance, the 
hook being then held by a verj' strong line or thong of tough 
leather, allowing the fish the necessary play to exhaust itself, until 
finally secured. It may be added that one authority says the 
Huron women manufactured out of the fiber of hemp the lines or 
the twine for nets, and most probably for angling, by the most 
primitive way of spinning, that of rolling it on their exposed 
thighs. This may have been after their acquaintance with the 
French, or else the hemp here mentioned is a different plant. The 
common hemp, (Cannabis sativa,} is certainly a plant of eastern 
origin and of late introduction. There are, however, some species 
of urtica, or nettle, indigenous, and the toughness of their fibres 
may have been discovered accidentally. 

In their agriculture the Indian women used the fire for clear- 
ing the space to be cultivated. Trees were felled by the same 
agency, and the ground partially loosened by the burning was 
worked by pronged limbs of trees, by hoes made of the breastbone 
of large quadrupeds, or of horns, pronged and otherwise, of such 
animals. Plowing was out of the question, though dogs, which 


they had in abundance, might have been trained for running some 
scratching wooden instrument in a line or furrow. The result of 
their labor was a crop of corn, some of which was roasted in the 
ear, while yet fit for eating in that way, the rest being garnered in 
different ways, among which the process of hanging tlie ears, prob- 
ably by the husks, to the poles immediately under the ridge pole 
is mentioned to have been practiced by the Hurons, and was prob- 
ably common among northern nations. Much of this crop seems 
to have been kept in barrels or similar vessels around the house, 
and some of it may have remained in the fields, when there was 
no apprehension of any warlike incursions. The Illinois, we find, 
buried their supplies in the earth for security. All these labors 
were done by women, and besides tha exertions, required consid- 
erable skill and experience, and if it had not been for the want of 
working animals and cows and sheep, the Indians would have 
made a respectable figure among semi-civilized nations, even before 
the advent of Europeans. The corn which was dried had to be 
used in dififerent ways. Hunters and war-parties took it along 
parched, to be used when needed. Some, and probably the most 
of it, had to be ground or pulverized in some way for use as mush, 
along with meat or vegetables. I can not find any positive state- 
ment that they made bread of it, at least not in earlier times. 
The grinding, pounding or pulverizati9n was done in wooden 
mortars, which were hollowed out by alternate burning and scrap- 
ing, sometimes perhaps on flat stones, with other stones that were 
thick and heavy on one end and rounded off by continued use. 
All the farmwork, the housekeeping, cooking and spinning and 
such knitting and weaving, and perhaps sewing, as might be re- 
quired, was done by the women, also the gathering of firewood. 
Besides the chase, the fishing, and the care for the arms and wea- 
pons, the building of the canoe was the work of the men. Most 
Indians built bark-canoes. The Algonquins especially used the 
bark of the white or paper birch for the body of the canoe, the 
Iroquois had to use the bark of elm trees; other tribes substituted 
the bark of the spruce. Besides the advantage of lightness and 
suppleness the bark of the birch presented the further one of ad- 
mitting of being stripped from the tree at almost any season, 
while other barks were very seldom to be had out of the season 
when the sap was in full circulation. 


Longfellow says in Hiawatha: 

" Down the trunk, from top to bottom, 
Sheer he cleft the bark asunder, 
With a wooden wedge he raised it, 
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken." 

But I have seen wedge shaped stones much better adapted 
and unquestionably used for the purpose. For a further descrip- 
tion of the proceedings, which must have been much the same in 
every case, the reader will please consult the chapter entitled 
" Hiawatha's Sailing." There is some doubt in my mind concern- 
ing the use of bark canoes in the hotter parts of the continent, on 
account of the softening and final melting of the balsam or pitch 
necessary to make the seayas waterproof, and also, because the 
rapid and very large growth of some of the trees of that part of 
the country naturally sugge.4ed substitutes for the bark canoe. 
The latter had some advantages in the ease of management over 
wooden canoes or dug-outs, and where the paper birch existed and 
grew large enough, remained the favorite until now among the 

From the building of the canoe the most natural transition 
leads to the building of the tent, lodge, hut or house, which was a 
task for the men. But as this subject is closely connected with 
the family life or social habits of the Indians, I will postpone its 
consideration until I reach that topic. 

Among the. crops enumerated above we find one which would 
surprise us, did we not know, that the use of tobacco, met every- 
where on the continent and on the islands among Indians, when- 
ever Europeans first came in contact with them, was universal, 
both as an article of enjoyment, and as an indispensable requisite ' 
in the propitiation of the okis and manitous, for the councils of 
war and peace, and especially in the expression of a favorable dis- 
position to strangers, or other visitors in an Indian encampment. 
For that reason I will go back to the first observation of the use 
of tobacco made by Europeans among inhabitants of Cuba. Wash- 
ington Irving says in his " Ufe and Voyages oj- Christopher Col- 
umbus ": " On their way back, they for the first time witnessed the 
use of a weed, which the ingenious caprice of man has since con- 
verted into a universal luxury, in defiance of the opposition of 
the senses. They beheld several of the natives going about with 


fire brands in their hands, and certain dried herbs which they 
rolled up in a leaf, and lighting one end, put the other in their 
mouths, and continued exhaling and puffing out the smoke. A 
roll of this kind they called a tobacco, a name since transferred 
to the plant of which the rolls were made." 

This is the general sense of what Las Casas says in Hist. Gen. 
Ind. as quoted by Irving. The first thought of any unprejudiced 
person in reading this would be, that smoking was invented to 
protect the face against the attacks of insects of the kind of mos- 
quitoes and gnats. But the smoker knows from experience, that 
after the nauseous feelings and the nervous prostration incident to 
the first attempts are overcome, the cigar, (as we may call the 
" tobacco " of the Cubans,) and the pipe afford a gentle excitement 
often quite welcome after hard labor of any kind, and a stimulus 
for mental labor to numerous persons. I can not enter into a dis- 
cussion of the merits and demerits of the weed, and the different 
uses it is applied to, but I must state, that the smoking of tobacco 
was common among all Indian tribes yet discovered, and that in 
consequence of this habit the planting and further manipulation 
of tobacco foi«ned an important item in their agriculture and in- 
dustry, simple as they both were. Still more remarkable than 
the prevalence of the use of tobacco is the fact, that there was 
one nation of Northern Indians who not only smoked tobacco, 
and raised it for their own consumption, as probably all other 
tribes did, but cultivated it as a crop for export, as we might call 
it now-a-days, that is, for the purposes of barter and trade with 
friend and foe. .This nation was called the Tobacco Nation, but 
in the Huron-Iroquois they were called Tionnontates. The French 
name " Nation du Petun," gave by literal translation the English 
appellation, but neither of them necessarily agrees with the one 
in their own language. The habitat of this nation was between 
Lake Ontario on the south and Nottawassaga Bay, the southern 
bay of Lake Manitoulin, now Georgian Bay, the eastern part of 
Lake Huron. Towards the northeast the Hurbns were their 
neighbors, to the southwest the Neutrals held possession of the 
country between them and Lake Erie. The latitude is 44° to 46° 
north, but the climate is more equitable than in our own part of 
the country, which in some measure explains the success in culti- 
vating tobacco. The nation was, like the Hurons, the Neutrals 


and the Eries, all of them kindred by language, destroyed by the 
fury of the Iroquois, but the renaains of the nation, exi ting at 
different places, among kindred and even hostile tribes, exercised 
a powerful influence among Indians, and were the most inflexible 
foes of the English in the Pontiac confederacy and to the United 
States at later times. They called themselves Wyandots. But to 
return to tobacco, we regret being unable to say how the Indians 
prepared the weed for smoking, though perhaps drying was the 
only process it was ever subjected to. We know it was smoked, 
and we find that it was smoked in pipes, and that the use of the 
pipe was a habit of the Indian men at their leisure, in the council 
and on difierent ceremonial occasions. Like most other people I 
imagined once, that the pipes of the Indians were made of the 
red pipestone, a notion in which I was confirmed by the descrip- 
tion in Hiawatha and different other writings. But I have come 
to the conclusion that all this was fabulous, and the reader will 
agree with me, when he considers the immense distance, the con- 
stant wars of the different nations, and the impossibility of ap- 
proaching the Pipestone Quarry by any mode of travel and trans- 
portation usual with the Indians. This, of course, applies more 
especially to Indians east of the Mississippi and most forcibly to 
those near to and even east of the Great Lakes. But more conclu- j 
sive than any arguments are the ocular proofs consisting in an 
almost unlimited number of pipes found in Indian burial mounds. 
Most of them are of an entirely different kind of stone, some of 
them even of a sandstone, which looks gritty but scarcely hard 
enough; others are of baked clay. Of those that have come under 
my observation, some two or three were remarkable for not look- 
ing like common pipeSj being rather blocks of sandstone, into 
the top end of which two holes were bored, the small ends of them [ 
meeting at a common point. Of these holes one may have been 
considered the bowl, the other may have served for the insertion 
of a stem. One can not but admire the workmanship of these im- 
plements of sacrifice or pleasure, the point of contact of the holes 
being exactly at the apex of the cone or conical hollow of each 
(ipening. The work is quite smooth, and considering the want of 
metal for the purpose of hollowing out the stone, must have taken 
considerable time and perseverance in its execution. But while 
contemplating it, I was struck with the smallnees of the bowl and 


its very limited capacity, being from its conical shape the least 
compatible with the surface opening. I am almost tempted to 
think that the tobacco was inserted in it in the shape of a cigar, 
though that may simply be a fancy of mine. William Finkelnburg, 
Esq., of Winona, Minn., who is an enthusiastic collector of Indian 
relics as well as of geological specimens, showed me two pipes of 
the^ind here described, one of which was found in this county 
opposite Winona, the other somewhere in Minnesota. One of them 
was marked on one of its faces by a crude ..figure, probably 
intended as a bird or animal, and possibly the totem of the-maker 
or owner. Mr. Finkelnburg ascribes this kind of pipe to the 
Moundbuilders, insisting that real Indian pipes were always of pipe- 
stone. As the pipestone quarry is between the Mississippi and 
the Missouri, my argument against that proposition is certainly 
not as valid as with the nations heretofore enumerated. His pro- 
positions are here given as by him stated, and as he is probably a 
better authority on the point, than I, it would be of no use to argue 
against them. 

A third pipe of the same kind is certainly the most remarka- 
ble relic of ancient times ever found within this county, be it now 
of Indians or Moundbuilders. It was found in Bohri's Valley, on 
level ground, and accidentally picked up, not dug out by an ex- 
plorer. It has the shape of an animal sculptured with great 
exactness out of a hard sandstone. The hind part of the right side 
has been damaged by the plow, most probably at the time of the 
first breaking of the soil, as after that it would probably not have 
resisted enough to be torn. A few scratches, as if made by the 
tooth of a harrow, are also found, but nothing to mar the form and 
execution. The head is entirely free all round and the eyes and 
eye-slits are very clearly marked. The head is broad on its base 
and not very long, but sharply flattened at the snout, so that the 
face looks somewhat like that of a frog, for which the figure might 
be mistaken, were it not for the long tail, the position of the eyes, 
and the prominent, well formed, but short ears, which were, how- 
ever, somewhat longer at first, and are worn down. The position 
of the animal is standing; the legs are well carved, but the mate- 
rial between them is not entirely removed, yet enough of it to 
make them appear in good relief. On the right fore-foot the toes 
may be counted, and the execution of the work is as fine and cor- 


rect as the material would allow, .which would hardly admit of 
much finer workmanship even with our perfect steel tools. The 
tail is quite prominent and though one side adheres to the total 
figure, the other sides are distinct and well rounded. The figure 
has been claimed to resemble a bear, on account of the thick head, 
and general massiness of appearance, but the length of the tail 
and the tapering of the fore-feet seem to contradict this notion. 
The comparative bulkiness is easily explained by considering that 
the holes for the bowl and stem of a pipe are on its back, which 
required not only room for themselves, but also enough material 
around them to make reasonably sure of durability. 

This valuable relic is in possession of George Schwoebel Esq. 
of Fountain City. The description may seem long to some peo- 
ple, but does no more than justice to the interesting object. 

Other pipes might be described, but they are differing almost 
altogether from the kind above mentioned. The leading form is 
substantially the same as in our common clay-pipes, that is the 
suction tube or stem is joined at about a right angle to the center- 
line of the bowl which is an inverted hollow cone. Pipes of that 
shape would naturally be ascribed without reserve to the Indians, 
inasmuch as the pipes found in actual use among them were, and 
are now of this description. But in writing out this chapter I 
suddenly remembered that I had a collection of pictures of pipes, 
published in the "Illustrated World", (German, and printed in Stutt- 
gard and Leipzig) containing seventeen numbers or specimens of 
pipes, all in the main of the last described . construction. The 
most remarkable is number one, of which a front, and a side-view 
are given. The bowl is a well carved human head with hat-like 
extension above, and the stem connected therewith at a right angle 
and being of the same piece, has a length of about three times the 
diameter of the bowl, tapering slightly towards the end opposite. 
The material is clay, the workmanship is said to be very artistic, 
but the most remarkable thing about the specimen is the fact, that 
it was found in a mound which had been opened by the command 
of the unfortunate Maximilian, the emperor "of Mexico, who was 
shot at Queretaro in 1867, and it is said to have been in his own 
hands and possession. The collection in which this pipe was 
exhibited for sale by a Mr. Wareham at London, contained many 
specimens, and a short historical sketch was attached to each. 


Considering the publicity of this exhibit, it might reasonably be 
inferred that these sketches would not deviate too far from the 
facts in each case, and reasoning from this supposition, this pipe 
overthrows all theories of distribution of pipemodels among 
Mourtdbuilders and Indians. But it is enough of tobacco and 
pipes, and if it were not for the fact that a majority of our mascu- 
line population is in some way and degree or other addicted to the 
consumption of the weed, I would scarcely have said so much. 

From the"means of subsistence we turn to the means of shelter 
and bodily protection in use among Indians. 

The most important means of shelter in all climates, but more 
particularly in our northern latitudes, is a house. But the idea -of 
a house is susceptible of very great variations and its building 
dependent upon so many circumstances that the most important 
question will be: What kind of houses did the Indians build? 
From our standpoint we would deny that the Indians built houses. 
We would call them hovels, or perhaps tents jor huts. There were, 
however a great variety of structures intended to do duty as houses 
among the Indians. Something all of them had in common; they 
were rude, frail and insufficient for the purpose of such shelter as 
human nature seems to demand in a climate in which the winter 
season is neither short nor mild. The houses of the strolling Mon- 
tagnais in their winter hunt in the mountain region between the 
waters of the St. Johns River running south and the tributaries of 
the lower St. Lawrence running north, were of the most unsatisfac- 
tory kind. Their construction is described by Paul Le Jeune, the 
first Superior of the Jesuit Mission at Quebec, who had joined a 
band of them on such an occasion, as follows : 

"The Squaws, with knives and hatchets, cut long poles of 
birch and spruce saplings; while the men, with snow-shoes for 
shovels, cleared a round or square space in the snow, which formed 
an upright wall three or four feet high, inclosing the area of the 
wigwam. On one side a passage was cut for an entrance, and the 
poles were planted around the top of the wall of snow, sloping and 
converging. On these poles were spread the sheets of birch-bark; 
a bear-skin was hung in the passageway for a door; the bare 
ground within and the surrounding snow were covered with spruce 
boughs, and the woi'k was done." These Montagnais Indians were 
of the Algonkin family and lived in a latitude corresponding to 


that of the country around Lake Superior, in a climate prover- 
bially severe. We may conclude that the temporary winter wig- 
wams of the tribes of their kindred were of the same description, 
and can imagine that their summer tents were not much more 
solid or comfortable. 

The houses or dwellings of the Hurons, the Iroquois and all 
the tribes or nations of the Iroquois lineage were much more pre- 
tentious, more solid and permanent. Usually these structures were 
thirty or thirtyfive feet long and wide. That they were as high 
may be doubted, though it is asserted. But in some of the villages 
there were dwellings two hundred and forty feet long, though in 
width and height these did not exceed the others. In shape they 
resembled an arbor overarching a garden walk. Their frame was 
of tall and strong saplings set or stuck in opposite rows to form the 
opposite sides of the house, bent till they met, and lashed together 
at the top. To these other poles were bound transversely, and the 
whole was, covered with large sheets of the bark of the oak, elm, 
spruce or white cedar, overlapping like shingles on a roof, upon 
which for better security, split poles were made fast with cords of 
linden bark. At the crown of the arch, along the whole length of 
the house an opening a foot wide was left for the admission of 
light and the escape of smoke. At each end was a close porch of 
similar construction; and here were stowed casks of bark filled 
with smoked fish, Indian corn, and other stores not liable to injury 
from frost. Within, on both sides, were wide scaffolds, four feet 
from the floor, and extending the entire length of the houses, like 
the seats of a collossal omnibus. These were formed of thick 
sheets of bark, supported by posts ai;Ld transverse poles, and 
covered with mats and skins. Here in summer was the sleeping 
place of the inmates, and the space beneath served for storage of 
firewood. The fires were on the ground, in a line down the middle 
of the house. Each sufficed for two families, who, in winter, slept 
closely packed around them. Above, just under the vaulted roof, 
were a great number of poles, like perches of a henroost, and here 
were suspended weapons, clothing, skins and ornaments. Here, 
too, in harvest time, the squaws hung the ears of unshelled corn, 
till the rude abode, through all its length seemed decked with a 
golden tapestry. In general, however, its only lining was a thick 
coating of soot from the smoke of fires with neither draft, chimney, 


or window. So pungent was the smoke, that it produced inflam- 
mation of the eyes, attended in old age with frequent blindness. 
Another annoyance was the fleas; and a third, the unbridled and 
unruly children. Privacy there was none. The house was one 
chamber, sometimes lodging more than twenty families. This is 
Parkman's description, after the delineations given by the Jesuits 
in their " Relations. " The building and maintenance of such 
houses, rude and uncomfortable though they were, required con- 
siderable time and labor, and could only be undertaken by tribes, 
whose families, at least, were sedentary. Consequently we do not 
find such houses, or rather barracks, among the roving Ojibways 
nor among the Dakotas. The former lived in such a cold region 
that agriculture was but seldom successful, the latter in a country 
largely destitute of the heavy timber, which had to furnish, if not 
the wood, still the bark for the houses described. One point is 
remarkable; the Indians do not appear to have taken to digging 
into the ground for shelter, and had evidently not yet experienced 
the protection of stone walls. Hennepin described the habitations 
of those Sioux he had to stay with as bark-lodges of a conical 
shape, and his description of the hunting tents tallies well with the 
tipee of those vagabonds, known among us at the present day as 
Indians, most of which are of Dakota stock, more or less mixed 
with Caucasian of French and other nationalities. It seems that 
Nicolet did not find any surprising novelty in the way of build- 
ings among the Winnebagoes of Green Bay, but one hundred and 
thirty two years after his visit, Capt. Carver admired their log- 
houses in the region between the Wisconsin above its elbow and 
the Mississippi. We can account for this change by remembering 
that during that time the Indians had provided themselves with 
steel tools and grindstones, and if they had not yet introduced 
draught cattle, they had certainly witnessed the proceedings of 
white men in building log-houses, and had found them to be not 
only more comfortable, but also in the end much easier of mainten- 
ance. In fact, we must ascribe the construction of houses of up- 
right posts, as related above, to the inferior condition of the im- 
plements that had to be used for the purpose, since it is indisput- 
able, that a log laid flat, unless in a very damp place,lasts at least 
as long, and very often longer, than the fence post that might be 
made of the saiae tree. 


From the stationary shelter furnished by a house, or what, 
for want of something better, we call so, it is quite natural to pro- 
ceed to that shelter, which we carry with us as we go. This shel- 
ter we call clothing, dress, or habiliments. The poet Heine says: 

" Among ourselves the weather's change. 
Morality, and law's behest, 
Strictly demand that every one 
Shall decently be dressed." 

He did not allude, to be sure, to the Indians or other savages. 
That kind of people knew nothing of the tyranny of fashion.. 
Paper collars, tight boots, stove-pipe hats and other ornamental 
articles, not perhaps of civilization, but of dudeism, were unknown 
to the happy children of the forest' and the prairie. Vanity, how- 
ever, was about as rampant among them as among other mortals, 
and they spent as much time at the preparation of their orna- 
ments as any polished nation at theirs. And how happy so many 
of them were to be presented with the cast off finery of some 
white man, and especially the uniform of an officer or even soldier. 
Don't laugh at the poor Indian for that, because the Indian might 
in all seriousness believe it was the uniform that conferred the 
ability to command and to conquer; and how often are all the 
merits of a man encompassed by the badges of authority he 
wears ? 

But to be serious about the matter, we must investigate the 
kind of clothing Indians did commonly wear at dififerent seasons 
of the year, and at particular occasions in the routine of their 
lives. We must also inquire into the means for furnishing such 
clothing, or habiliments. The men, we are told, wore little or no 
clothing in summer, but in winter they wore tunics and leggins. 
Thus the Hurons; the Neutrals wore absolutely nothing but moc- 
casins when they were visited by the Jesuits Bribeuf and Chau- 
monot. More northern tribes were compelled to wear more cloth- 
ing on all occasions, but the breech-clout seems to have been the 
summer vestment of all the western Indians in the summer ex- 
cursions for war and chase. On solemn occasions, such as their 
numerous public feasts, at the reception of an embassy from the 
Whites, or the conclusion of a treaty with them,- or with some 
powerful tribe of their own kind, they wore long robes of beaver 
or otter skins, which were sometimes very v^aluable. Their medi- 


cine men performed their function in similar habiliments. The 
material for all their dresses was skins prepared by the well known 
method of smoke-tanning, if the hair was off, and by some other 
process if the hair or fur was left on. Moccasins and other art- 
icles of clothing were ornamented by the quills of the porcupine 
dyed in various colors. The inside of their robes of ceremony 
were painted with figures, usually in a red color, possibly some 
charm for the protection of the wearer, or a picture record of some 
of his deeds among the enemies of the tribe. Among the Iroquois 
the council, at least that of a clan or family was not a ceremonial 
affair, as Father Isaac Joques assures us that they were lying on 
their bellies, or on their backs or squatting on their haunches, al- 
most naked, and smoking their pipes, calmly deliberating on af- 
fairs of state. He adds that even the Roman senate would not be 
insulted by the Iroquois council being compared with it. As the 
Roman senate departed this world about a thousand years before 
the worthy Father wrote that comparison, and as the Iroquois 
would not read it, the assertion was safe and harmless. We find, 
however, that the Iroquois wore beaver skin robes in battle, even 
in summer time, since in one of Champlain's battles with them, it 
is remarked that after the defeat of the Iroquois certain traders, 
who had not done much fighting, robbed the carcasses of the dead 
warriors of their robes, amid the derision of the surrounding sav- 

The dress of the women, (among Hurons,) according to the 
Jesuits, was more modest than that " of our most pious ladies of 
France." We will not doubt it, but might reasonably dispute the 
authority of the " Fathers " in this matter. An exception to this 
modesty in dress waa made by young girls on festal occasions 
when they wore nothing but a kilt from the waist to the knee and 
wampum decorations on breast and arms. The long black hair 
was gathered behind the neck and sometimes decorated with disks 
of native copper, probably polished by scouring for the occasion; 
some gay pendants obtained from the French were used for the 
same purpose. They all slept in the cloths they wore during the 
day, and as in winter time they arouched closely around the fire 
during the night, we may readily conclude, that their clothing 
was none too warm. 

The making, of these pieces of clothing out of skins was as 


difficult a performance as any that might be required in connec- 
tion with this article. The cutting, for instance, of the tunic of 
the males from such parts of the skins as would prove strongest 
and require least sewing, the connection of the dififerent parts and 
the placing of the seams so as not to chafe, were considerations of 
importance. Very little more than straight cutting and plain 
sewing would be required for female dresses, except regarding the 
sleeves. There was one essential point which lightened the diffi- 
culty; the tunics, robes and such things were made loose, and held 
together by a belt or girdle about the waist. There is no doubt 
but that ornaments of painting and embroidery were employed, 
but as the material of the dresses was very durable, and these often 
laid aside for a considerable time, it was not very difficult to find 
time for making new ones. The material for sewing was in most 
cases the sinews of the animals killed in the chase, and the process 
must have resembled the work of the saddler rather than that of 
the tailor, at least before the introduction of steel needles. It may 
also be suggested that the heavier leather wa s softened by soaking 
and greasing before being sewed together. The sinews used for 
thread had to be dried in most cases before they could be used and 
the filaments were probably separated by soaking, or else by beat- 
ing while dry. Champlain mentions the use of a fibre, which, on 
account of its being the envelope of some seed, he calls cotton, but 
it is for obvious reasons not probable that it was employed in sew- 
ing garments of skins. Whether it was worked into garments or 
parts of such by itself or perhaps in connection with bast or tough 
rushes, or possibly fibrous roots, we may suppose, but it is not 
proven. More probable is its use for netting. The Indians of our 
day or the next preceding generation did not to any great extent 
adopt the fashions of the White Man, but used the materials for 
clothing which might be procured by traffic. There is, in fact but 
little left of the original Indian in the remnant that tramps about 
among us, and whatever they did not have to abandon of their 
habits in the way of living, clothing and other things, they divested 
themselves of voluntarily. Their coppery skin, their love of 
whiskey and their constitutionarl laziness still adheres to them 
but whether they alone are to blame for that, we may leave to 
others to decide. 

Among Indians family life was a result of necessity for both 


parties. It looks, other points being equal, like a contract for a 
division of labor of which the result would be for the promotion of 
such comfort to all concerned, as they expected to enjoy. The girl 
could perhaps hunt and fight, but custom was against her doing 
so; the young man must not be a woman, that is, he must 
not do a woman's work. Out on a hunt, or on the war-path, 
it was no disgrace to do some cooking, if circumstances admitted 
of it, or compelled him to do it, but at home that belonged to the 
women exclusively. It is true, some of his work, in fact most of 
it, was such as taxed his energy, endurance and self-denial almost 
too severely, and his claim for rest at home was excusable. Even 
on the march, where the woman had to do the hardest and most 
continous work in carrying baggage, and where the man assisted 
her only in case of extreme need, the warrior might excuse him- 
self by a plea of constant danger, which required his careful obser- 
vation of every thing, and also the preservation of all his activity 
and strength for instant action. But notwithstanding the validity 
of these excuses at some times, it is not to be denied, but that his 
laziness, his contempt for any exertion in performing house-hold 
work was carried to extremes. His pride very complacently sup- 
ported his idleness, if indeed such support was needed for some- 
thing customary and unquestionably due to his superior merits, 
which in his own eyes and those of his associates were sufficient 
for any prerogatives he might demand. 

Naturally the women would get callous in a certain degree to 
the tasks and sufiferings imposed upon them, not by one man, but 
by a custom, that was as universal as it was irresistible. Where 
woman is so largely considered as merely a drudge, a slave, or 
beast of burden, the tie of marriage is hardly more than a bargain. 
The custom of buying the daughter from her parents must be con- 
sidered as giving them an equivalent for such services as she 
might have rendered them, but which she would in future render 
to the purchaser, who assumed the position of husband and the 
obligation to protect her and provide for her, or she for him. In 
some form or other this purchasing prevailed among Indians. 
Hence poor Indians usually had but one wife, rich ones and influ- 
ential chiefs had a plurality. Hennepin, for instance, says that 
his self-imposed father Aquipaguetin, the wily and powerful chief 
of the |Mille Lacs Sioux, made him the son of seven or eight 


women at the same moment, by introducing him to them. Family 
ties and marital obligations seem to have been more close and 
strict among western Indians than among the eastern, especially 
the stationary tribes. The Hurons, for instance, were openly pro- 
fligate, the Neutrals even disgustingly so, and as there was no 
respect, there could not be love in any sense, except the lowest. 
That there was punishment for adultery seems to be true, but this 
only proves that the Aborigines did not need to learn of the White 
Men the purpose of making laws: i. e. for being violated, evaded 
and disregarded. The children born to any family belonged to 
the mother, or in case of her death to her oldest sister, and in gen- 
eral to her relations. Something, of course, was done to bring 
them up and to educate them, such as it was. That they enjoyed 
all the freedom compatible with their bodily security is a matter 
of course. It appears from the experiences with Indian women as 
wives of white men, that they were usually good house-wives, lov- 
ing mothers and faithful to their marriage obligations. This seems 
to argue that the long continued usages of life were discarded with- 
out regret by the weaker sex, as soon as the compulsion main- 
tained by the stronger was withdrawn. It also seems to argue that 
Indian mothers were always tenderhearted enough to their off- 
spring, since the reverse would have been engrafted upon their na- 
ture indelibly, if it had really existed for so long a time. 

From the family, which differed from that of civilized peoples 
most essentially in the fact that children were relations only to 
the relations of their mother and not to those of their father, we 
proceed to what, in our time, we would call the state or common- 
wealth, which among Indians was based on kinship, and that 
based on the woman, not on the man. Chieftainship, among other 
things, might be hereditary, but it did not go to the sons of a chief, 
it went to the son, or successively to the sons, of his oldest or next 
oldest sister. In the language of Champlain it is expressed as fol- 
lows : 

"A boy might not be the son of his reputed father, but he 
must be the son of his mother," an observation of peculiar force 
in an Indian community. 

In the article on " Wyandot Government," a short Study of Tribal 
Society," J. W. Powell sets forth the general principles of Indian 
society, family life, relationship and government as found? among 


those tribes, that were at least in some degree organized. ■ Differ- 
ences and modifications can not be specified, for want of room and 
other reasons. Definitions will only be given, when he uses a new 
word, or one used by myself in a different sense. Only the most 
pregnant sentences will be given. 

"In the social organizations of the Wyandots four groups are 
recognized, the family, the gens, the phratry, and the tribe. 


The head of a family is a woman. 


■ The gens is an organized body of consahguineal kindred in the 
female line. 

The woman carries the gens. 

Each gens has the name of some animal, so that in speaking 
of an individual he is said to be a Wolf, a Bear, etc., and of the 
whole gens, that they are Wolves, Bears, etc., that is relatives of 
such a name. 


This is the name given to the voluntary agglomeration of two 
or more gentes into a recognized unit for religious performances, 
festivals or games, and tlie preparation of medicines. 


The tribe is the aggregate of all recognized kindred. Of the 
four groups thus described, the gens, the phratry, and the tribe 
constitute a series of organic units; the family or household is not 
a unit of the gen-^, as the father must belong to one gens and the 
mother and the children to another. 


Society is maintained by the establishrrient of government, 
for rights must be recognized and duties performed. 

In the Wyandot tribe there is a complete separation of the 
military from the civil government. 


It consists in a system of councils and chiefs. The council of 
a gens consists of four women and a male chief, whom they elect. 
The council of a tribe consists of the aggregated council of the 
gentes, four fifths being women and one fifth men. 

The sa,chem, or head-chief of a tribe, is chosen by the chiefs 
of the gentes. 


For special purposes grand councils of the gens and tribe are 
convened, consisting of the regular councils and the heads of 
households together with the leading men in the gens or the tribe. 


The heads of households choose the councilors, the sachem 
installs them. The women choose the chief of the gens and endow 
him with an elaborately ornamented tunic and point the totem of 
the gens upon his face; the sachem announces his election. The 
rank of sachem usually belongs to the same gens for a succession 
of elections, but the custom may be changed. 

One gens claims the office of herald and sheriff of the tribe 
as hereditary. Among the Wyandots the gens of the Wolf 
claimed this distinction for its own chief. 

Councils of the gens are called whenever necessary, but may 
be adjourned from day to day, or from week to week. 

Tribal councils occur at the night of the full moon, but may 
be called by the sachem at discretion. 

The following is so characteristic that I copy it verbatim : 

" Meetings of the gentile council are very informal, but the 
meetings of the tribal councils are conducted with due ceremony. 
When all the persons are assembled, the chief of the Wolf gens 
calls them to order, fills and lights a pipe, sends one puff of smoke 
to the heavens and another to the earth. The pipe is then handed 
to the sachem, who fills his mouth with smoke, and, turning from 
left to right with the sun, slowly- puffs it out over the heads of the 
councilors, who are sitting in a circle. He then hands the pipe to 
the man on his left, and it is smoked in turn by each person, until 
it has been passed around the circle. The sachem then explains 
the object for which the council is called. Each person in the way 
and manner he chooses tells what he thinks should be done in the 
case. If a majority of the council is agreed as to action, the 
sachem does not speak, but may simply announce the decision. 
But in some cases there may be protracted debate, which is car- 
ried on with great deliberation. In case of a tie, the sachem is 
expected to speak. It is considered dishonorable for any man to 
reverse his decision after having spoken." 

This description applies more directly to the proceedings in 
such cases among the Wyandots, but all reports agree that coun- 
cils of and with the Indians were always very formal. 



The following rights and co-relative duties were maintained 
by regulations based on custom o»r usage: 

1. Rights of marriage. 

2. Rights to names, 

3. Rights to personal adornments. 

4. Rights of order in encampments and migrations, 

5. Rights of property. 

6. Rights of persons. 

7. Rights of community. 

8. Rights of religion. 


Marriage between members of the same gens is forbidden. A 
man might marry his first cousin on his father's side but not on 
his mother's. 

The rights of a husband in his gens were not abridged by his 
living in and with the gens of his wife. Children, without regard 
to sex belong to the gens of their mother. Men and women mtist 
marry within the tribe, but as any person might "be adopted into 
the tribe by being adopted into a household belonging to it, this 
was virtually no restriction. Polygamy was permitted, but poly- 
andry was forbidden. The mother and the councilors of the gens 
had to give their consent. After the betrothal the man makes 
presents to the mother of the girl according to his ability. Nup- 
tials follow betrothal within the same month. Mutual promises 
of faithfulness, given before the parents and councilors, are sub- 
stantially the whole marriage ceremony. To the customary mar- 
riage feast the gentes of both parties are to be invited. At the 
death of the mother the children belong to her oldest sister or 
nearest relative in the female line. At the death of the father 
the mother and children are cared for by her nearest male relative 
until subsequent marriage. 


At the green corn festival the councilors of each gens named 
the children born in the preceding yeaiT. No one could change 
his name, but might by good or ill luck acquire a surname or nick- 
name, which would be commemorative of some event or exploit. 


Each clan (or gens) bad a distinctive method of painting the 


face, a distinctive chaplet to be worn by tbe cbief and councilor 
women of the gens when, inaugurated, and subsequently at festival 
occasions, and distinctive ornaments of all its members, to be used 
at festivals and religious ceremonies. 


The camp of the tribe was an open circle or horseshoe. The 
place of each gens was designated, beginning from the left, and 
the same order obtained for the households in each gens, the old- 
est on the left, the youngest on the right. The order of march was 


The council of the tribe portioned out the land for cultivation 
to each gens, the council of the gens to each household. 

Cultivation is communal, that is the heads of households are 

responsible, and the able bodied women of each gens are convoked 

for the cultivation of the land of every household. It is practically 

. a working-bee, which closes with a feast given to the participants. 

The wigwam or lodge is the property of the woman and de- 
scends to her oldest daughter in case of death. The property of 
the husband descends to his oldest brother or the oldest son of 
his sister, except what is buried with him. 

His property consists of his clothing, hunting and fishing im- 
plements, weapons and other articles used personally by himself, 
including usually a small canoe. Large canoes were the property 
of the gens. 


Each individual had the right to freedom of person and se- 
curity from personal and bodily injury, unless duly convicted of 


The gens had the right to the services of all its women in the 
cultivation of the soil, and of all its male members in avenging 
wrongs. The tribe had the right to the service of all its male mem- 
bers in time of war. 


The phratry was recognized for its purposes. Each gens had 
the right to worship its tutelar god, and each individual to pos- 

sess and use his particular amulet. 



Crimes are violations of rights. Seeing from the above that 
there were numerous recognized rights, we might conclude that 
the following list of crimes is insufficient, but I can not bring my- 
self to believe that the Tionnontates, of which the Wyandots were 
a remnant, really meant to punish all the crimes enumerated. 
These crimes are: 

1. Adultery. 2. Theft. 3. Maiming. 4. Murder. 5. Trea- 
son. 6. Witchcraft. 

If, for instance, the reports of the missionaries among the Hur- 
ons are to be trusted, and they are certainly as authentic as Mr. 
Powell's assertions, the whole nation would have deserved punish- 
ment for crime No. 1, in a qualified degree. It is improbable that 
such a wholesale proceeding ever was, as could have been at- 
tempted. As to No. 2, the case was simple enough; restitution 
could be enforced, and unless enforced, it was not made. Maim-^ 
ing and murder could not have been considered very serious offen- 
ses among people that were intent on fighting their enemies " to a 
finish" as the sporting phrase is, any hour in the day or night, 
and they were probably not often committed on members of the 
same tribe by such. Treason was of much more importance, and 
the punishment by death certainly deserved and unsparingly ad- 
ministered, if the ofiender did not escape, but traitors are every- 
where timid and cautious. 

Witchcraft was rampant among all Indians in their primitive 
condition, and they were almost as eager to punish i,t as Cotton 
Mather and the Massachusetts Provincial Government, besides the 
governments of church and state in many a proud country of civ- 
ilization. The punishment was death by stabbing, tomahawking 
or burning. The accused, if found guilty, might clear herself by 
the ordeal of walking uninjured through a circle of fire. 


It consisted of two degrees : 

1. Conditional permission to kill the outlawed individual, and 
refusal to avenge his death, whether he be killed rightfully or 

2. Making it the duty of every member of the tribe to kill 
the outlaw at the first opportunity. 

The trial was by the council of the tribe and very formal. 



The military affairs were subject to the military council which 
consisted of all men subject to military duty, who chose their 
chief, and his successors in case of death in battle. Gentile chiefs 
were responsible for military instruction of youths in their gens. 
Prisoners of war were either killed or adopted into the tribe in the 
usual way, the captor having the first chance for such adoption. 


This was a peculiar intimacy, and mutual obligation of two 
individual warriors of the same tribe in every concern of life, inde- 
pendent of consanguinity, and to end only with the death of one 
or both. At the death of one, the other was chief mourner. 


Mr. Powell himself sums up the substance of his article on 
Tribal Society in the following: 

"Tribal society in North America is based on kinship." 

Nowhere in North America have a people been discovered, 
who have passed beyond tribal society to national society based on 
property, i. e., that form of society which is characteristic of civili- 
zation. Some people may not have reached kinship society; none 
have passed it, Considering his statement of the government of 
the Wyandots we must not overlook the fact, that the ancient 
writers, the missionaries of the first half of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, although they are singularly silent on the subject of govern- 
ment, and in their meagre accounts of it do not contradict his own 
statements, do sometimes by a description of other traits of the 
nation, of which the Wyandots were the organized reinnant, cast 
a doubt upon the probability of such a close and well organized 
government, and especially upon the efficiency of it. 

But admitting his theories, we must come to the inevitable 
conclusion, that this government Was a very complicated affair, 
imposing restrictions, which the savage mind can not be supposed 
to have endured without violent opposition! It was too formal 
and conservative. We can not dispute the authenticity of Lis in- 
formation, but must remember, that it was given when the' tribe 
had long been diiven from its original abode or settlement, sub- 
jected to_numerous alterations of habitat, and the influence of in- 
tercourse with other tribes and the Whites, He may have learned 


the traditional arrangements, but the practical workings were prob- 
ably very different.'^ 

The power of the chiefs, for instance, was not so absolute as it 
appears from his statements to have been; at least they always 
excused themselves with their want of ppwer to compel, if indi- 
viduals refused to obey. We find this excuse" as early as 1609 
when Champlain was among the Hurons, and we find it as late as 
the Sioux outbreak of 1862. Of course, we may doubt the sin- 
cerity of the chiefs, but on some occasions it would have been 
manifestly to the advantage of their tribe, to have had that ab- 
solute power, which they denied to possess. The Dakbtas of Min- 
nesota had in theory undoubtedly a similar organization as the 
one given in my brief abstract of Mr. Powell's article, and as they 
were, at least made the claim to be, the owners of the soil upon 
which we now live, there will be a chance to review this in their 
separate history. 

With regard to the above I can not omit to remark, that, when- 
ever the word " gens " is used the word " clan " may be substi- 
tuted without much inaccuracy. The words " tribe" and " nation " 
may be considered as identical or very closely synonymous, when 
applied to Indians. These three words are Latin, but in the Ro- 
man application they did not exactly mean what they are made 
to express in modern languages. 

Among the most serious events of life in any state of society 
is what may be called sickness, that is an interruption in the reg- 
ular functions of some one or more of the organs of the body. 
Among these disturbances we must also include the injuries by 
wounding, total loss of limbs, and such accidents as would un- 
avoidably happen in any state of civilization, and very frequently 
must have happened among Indians. It is true the Indian was 
inured to hardships of many kinds, to sudden changes of weather, 
to protracted marches, or as much protracted paddling in any kind 
of weather, sleeping in the open air, and many other exposures, 
too tedious to mention. Experience has, however, from the ear- 
liest times of the intercourse between Whites and Indians, demon- 
strated, that, other things being equal, an Indian could not in the 
long run, endure more than a white man. At any rate there was 
sickness among them. What were their means for combating this 
sickness? What was, or could be done, for the com|ort of a sick 


person? RecoUectins; the wretched accommodation, the crowded 
state of dwellings and sleeping places, we had best leave out the 
idea of comfort altogether. In some cases, however, we may cre- 
dit the Indian women with tenderness enough to do the most that 
could be done in such an emergency. But the means for actually 
combating the sickness by removing its cause, by eradicating it 
from the system, were very scarce, and the credit given the Indians 
for a superior knowledge of medicinal virtues of certain plants, de- 
coctions and combinations, is usually but the trick of a quack to 
sell his own preparations to the ignorant. Many persons have 
been imposed upon by thinking that the Indian medicine-man 
was a physician. Some of that class may have known a few sim- 
ples and applied them empirically, but that was not their actual . 
vocation. The cure they were expected to effect, was not by their 
own knowledge, but by the interference of those occult powers, 
which among Indians were omnipresent, and the cause of every- 
thing. Invocations by any means, mostly by unearthly noises, 
extraordinary distortions of limbs and body, and similar perform- 
ances, formed that part of their duty, that was most appreciated 
by the relatives and comrades of the sick person. The Jesuits and 
other missionaries called these medicine-men sorcerers. In fact 
that was what they were expected to be, but unfortunately their 
supposed powers of interference with the okis and manitous, and 
other unknown spirits, or natural forces, were no greater than those 
of other men who pretended to similar things with just as little 
warrant or actual vocation. If the patient recovered, the medicine- 
man claimed the credit, if he died, the fee was probably not less. All, 
of course must die, at some time, and there was no exception to 
that rule even among Indians. So we come to the question; What 
did the Indians do with their dead? They buried them. But if 
we would suppose that they always dug a grave and put the body 
into it, we would be much mistaken. The word burial is derived 
from the Anglo-Saxon word burgian, that is to hide and to save 
from destruction. This word is the same as the German bergen, 
which in combination with the prefix ver means to hide, without 
prefix however means to save, as goods from a shipwreck. In the 
conjugation of the word bergen we meet the word geborgen, that is 
saved or placed in safety. In that sense the Indians did bury their 
dead. Mr. H. 0. Yarrow, in the " First Annual Report of the Bu- 


reau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution," enumerates seven 
distinct classes of burial. 

1st. By inhumation, in pits, graves or holes in the ground, 
stone graves or cists, in mounds, beneath or in cabins, wigwams, 
houses or lodges, or in caves. 

2d. By embalmment, or a process of mummifying, the remains 
being afterwards placed in the earth, caves, mounds, boxes on 
scaffolds, or in charnelhouses. 

3d. By deposition of remains in urns. 

4th. By surface burial, the remains being placed in hollow 
trees or logs, pens, or simply covered with earth, or bark, or rocks, 
forming cairns. 

5th. By cremation, or partial burning, generally on the sur- 
face of the earth, occasionally beneath, the resulting bones or ash- 
es being placed in pits in the ground, in boxes placed on scaffolds 
or trees, in urns, and sometimes scattered. 

6th. By eerial sepulture, thebodies being left in lodges, houses, 
cabins, tents, deposited on scaffolds or trees, in boxes or canoes, 
the two latter receptacles supported on scaffolds or posts, or placed 
on the ground. Occasionally baskets have been used to contain 
the remains of children, these being hung to trees. 

7th. By aquatic burial, beneath the water or in canoes, 
which were turned adrift. 

These heads might, perhaps, be further subdivided, but the 
above seem sufficient for all practical needs. 

So far Mr. Yarrow. But in the further elaboration, he gives an- 
other mode of burial, which, however, does not seem to be any 
burial at all, though he styles it "Living Sepulchres". He says: 
"This is a term quaintly used by the learned M. Pierre Muret to 
express the devouring of the dead by birds and animals, or the 
surviving friends and relatives. Mr. Yari-ow is probably correct 
in the opinion, that this practice was not prevalent among North 
American Indians. It is nevertheless, true that the Hurons, the 
Tionnontates, Eries and Neutrals and the Irpquois in general prac- 
ticed cannibalism on their prisoners of war. The testimony in re- 
gard to this comes from the earlier Jesuit missionaries, from 
Champlain and other reliable sour<;es. "I will eat your heart" was 
not at all a metaphorical expression among those nations, and re- 
sulted but too often in the literal execution of the threat. From 


what I have been able to learn it appears that inliumation was the 
practice prevailing among the Eastern Indians, the Algonquins and 
Iroquois-Huron relationship. But they did not bury their dead 
immediately. They preserved their bones for a number of yearS) 
and at the feast of the dead, which occurred at stated periods' 
every five, sepen or ten years, the bones were together with articles 
of different kinds, weapons, kettles, robes of beaver etc. deposited 
in one great hollow or grave, covered with boughs of trees and with 
logs and then with earth. The Jesuit missionaries were more than 
once eye-witnesses to these proceedings and have left minute de- 
scriptions of the same. Surface burial and aerial sepulture, on the 
other hand seem to have been the more common practice of the 
Western Indians, the Dakotas, the Winnebagoes, Chippewas, Sacs 
and Foxes and Illinois. 

The practice is, at least in those parts where the Indians are yet 
not converted or otherwise civilized, still continued to some extent. 

From Mr. Yarrow's paper I here insert the translations of 
Schiller's "Nadowessiers Todtenlied". This translation is said to 
be byJBulver, and is as close as could be expected. 


See on his mat, as if of yore. 

How life-like seats he here; 
With the same aspect he wore 

When life to him was dear. 
But where the right arm's strength, and where 

The breath ihat used to breathe 
To the Great Spirit aloft in air 

The peace^ipe's lusty wreath ? 

And where the hawk-like eye, alas! 

That wont the deer pursue, 
Along the waves of rippling grass,. 

Or fields that shone with dew ? 
Are these the limber, bounding feet 

That swept the winter's snows? 
What startled deer was half so fleet 

Their speed outstripped the roe's. 

These hands that once the sturdy bow 
Could supple from its pride. 

How stark and helpless hang they nqw, 
Adown the stiffened side! 


Yet weal to him! at peace he strays 

Where never fall the snows, 
Where o'er the meadow springs the maize, 

That mortal never sows. 

Where birds are blithe in every brake 

Where forests teem with deer, 
Where glide the fish through every lake 

One chase from year to year. 
With spirits now he feasts above 

All left us, to revere 
The deeds we cherish with our love; 

The rest we bury here. 

Here bring the last gifts; loud and shrill 

Wail death-dirge of the brave! 
What pleased him most in life may still 

Give pleasure in the grave. 
We lay the axe beneath his head 

He swung when strength was strong. 
The bear on which his hunger fed — 

The way from earth is long ! 

And here, new-sharpened, place the knife 

Which severed from the clay, 
From which the axe had spoiledthe life, 

The conquered scalp away. 
The paints that deck the dead bestow, 

Aye, place them in his hand. 
That red the kingly shade may glow 

Amid the spirit land. 

It is impossible to enlarge upon all the customs of burial 
mentioned in the paper of Mr. Yarrow, extending as it does not 
only to the Indians of the United States or the Great Northwest, 
but to those of Alaska, Central and South America, and to peoples 
of similar habits and degrees of civilization, or the want of it, in 
Africa and Australia, of present and past times. But as an ex- 
ample of a burial, romantically conceived, and carried out to the 
fullest possible extent with the ante-mortem wishes of the dead, we 
quote here from George Catlin " Manners, Customs, etc., of North 
American Indians," the description of the obsequies of Blackbird, 
the great Chief of the Omahas: " He requested them to take his 
body down the river to his favorite haunt, and on the pinnacle of 
a towering bluff to bury him on the back of his favorite war-boree,- 


which was to be buried alive under him, from whence he could 
see, as he said, " the Frenchmen passing up and down the river in 
their boats ". He owned, among many horses, a noble white 
steed, that was led to the top of the grass-covered hill, and with 
great pomp and ceremony in the presence of the whole nation, and 
several of the fur-traders, and the Indian agent, he was placed 
astride of his horse's back, with his bow in his hand, and his shield 
and quiver slung, with his pipe and his medicine bag, with his 
supply of dried meat, and his tobacco pouch replenished to last 
him through the journey to the beautiful hunting grounds of the 
shades of his fathers, with his flint, his steel, and his tinder to 
light his pipe by the way; the scalps he had taken from his ene- 
mies' heads could be trophies for nobody else, and were hung to 
the bridle of his horse. He was in full dress, and fully equipped, 
and on his head waved to the last moment his beautiful head- 
dress of war-eagles' plumes. In this plight, and the last funeral 
honors having been performed by the medicine-men, every war- 
rior of his band painted the palm and fingers of his right hand 
with Vermillion, which was stamped and perfectly impressed on 
the milk-white sides of his devoted horse. This all done, turfs 
were brought and placed around the feet and legs of the horse, and 
gradually laid np to its sides, and at last over the back and head 
of the unsuspecting animal, and last of all over the head, and even 
the eagle plumes of its yaliant rider, where all together have 
smouldered and remained undisturbed to the present day." 

I cannot close this relation of Indian burials without some 
reference to related customs among prehistoric people in the Old 
World. Mounds and regular graveyards are not entirely wanting 
there, but discoveries have been made of burials in swamps, bogs 
and temporarily overflowed places, of which I could learn nothing 
similar in this country. Burials in cairns, that is piles of stones 
were common to the northern parts of Europe, notably England 
and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, Denmark and the Scandinavian 
peninsula. Burial in dolmens or stone-graves, the stones being ar-, 
ranged to form boxes or rude sarcophagi, seems to have been 
practised from the Baltic to across the Mediterranean, but by no 
means exclusively. Cairns seems to have served the same pur- 
pose in some parts of the West, notably in the Dakota country, 
but dolmens seem to be missing entirely in this country, or have 


so fai; escaped detection. Cremation prevailed among the prehis- 
toric Greeks, but the ashes were covered with mounds, as appears 
from the Iliad and Odyssee, but whether the pyre and the mound 
were confined to kings and heroes, while common inhumation was 
the lot of other mortals, we may surmise, but could hardly prove. 
The Etruscans, the predecessors of the Romans in the occupancy 
of the Latin parts of Italy, may or may not have practised the 
same burial customs as the Greeks, but this is not yet conclusively 
decided. The Arians had a diversity of ways in this matter, as 
the " Suttee," still in use among the " Hindustanee " seems to point 
to cremation, and other circumstances would indicate inhumation. 
The Parsees still bury in " living sepulchers," exposing their dead 
to be devoured by vultures in the towers of silence. 

With these relations we close the relatioii of the burials, and 
turn to tha mourning observances among Indians. These observ- 
ances consisted of wailings, sacrifices, feasts, offering of food, dan- 
ces, songs, games, graveposts, fires and other ceremonies. Among 
the Natchez, and probably among some other Indians west of the 
Mississippi, the favorite wife of a departed chief had to accompany 
him to the land of the hereafter. Among other nations one or 
more horses were sacrificed. Sioux, Crows, Blackfeet and perhaps 
other tribes inflict wounds upon their arms, legs, and other parts 
of their bodies, amputate a joint of a finger, tear out their hair, 
cut it short. The description of mourning for a Crow chief in the 
autobiography of James Beckwourth is very lively and even revol- 
ting, but it is probably exaggerated, and possibly all invented. 
The eastern Indians mourned about one year, and at the feast of 
the dead, of course, repeated their wailings. Dances and songs 
were common methods of expressing their grief, sometimes games 
of a gymnastic character with competition for prizes accompanied 
the funeral, and there may have been some fervor in all these pro- 
ceedings if the deceased really was of much consequence to the 
tribe. Food was offered to the corpse before and after burial for 
some time; some tribes had the custom of maintaining a fire upon 
the grave, or under the scaffold, probably some longer or shorter 
time, according to the rank of the dead, or as convenience might 
serve. The men do not seem to have been obliged to mourn very 
long, though it might have suited them weU enough, or at least 
gome of them, to have an extra spell of idleness on pretense of 


mourning. Chippewa men signified their mourning by blackening 
their faces, in other tribes similar customs may have prevailed. 
Among the Choctaws, a southern tribe, the mourning occupied one 
moon and during that time the husband or widow went every 
morning and evening to the grave which was kept (partially at 
least) open for that length of time. At the end of that moon he 
or she went in the evening to do some more vehement wailing; 
that was the last cry. In the mean time neighbors and friends had 
gathered at the house for a feast of eating, dancing and general 
revelry in which the mourner was expected to participate, and this 
expectation was probably met promptly. After that ceremony 
the relict might mary again as soon as convenient. 

Quite different it is among the Chippewas. A widow, es- 
pecially a young one, is expected to take a stick of wood, some- 
thing like two to three feet long and about five inches in diameter, 
dress it in her best clothes, while she must wear her worst, and 
this is henceforth her husband for at least a yi^ar, though she may 
at any time, even at the grave, become the wife of an unmarried 
brother-in-law, if he demands her. This badge of mourning she 
must carry until some member of her husband's family requests 
her to deliver it up, when she is released from further mourning 
and allowed to marry again. If, as might naturally be expected, 
she gets tired of that rag-baby, and begins to flirt, or even contracts 
a marriage outside of the prescribed family circle, she is punished 
by her female relatives, here as among other nations always ready 
to mind what is none of their business. Funeral feasts, like other 
feasts of the Indians, were performances of immoderate eating, 
followed, and sometimes preceded, by dancing as immoderate. 
The superstitions imputed to the Indians they probably possessed 
to at least some extent, but very often does the imputation betray 
the narrowmindedness of the person making it. As to the dances, 
they occur at every expected or unexpected occasion, and quite 
likely there was a dance for the dead among them, peculiar, it is 
probable to every tribe. Their deadsongs were wails, sometimes 
degenerating into howling, common to all, or many barbarous na- 
tions. The games connected with burials were formerly of gym- 
nastic kind among the Iroquois-Huron confederacies, but in other 
places they seem to have been mere gambling, as among theWahpe- 
ton and Sisseton Sioux. This gambling was carried on by throw 


ing up marked plum stones, but card playing has been substituted 
for it. They call it the ghost-gamble. The prizes are siliall but 
many, so as to give each Indian invited a chance to win some- 
thing. One Indian represents the ghost and plays against each of 
the others. As soon as one Indian has beaten the ghost at the 
game, he takes his prize and another is called in. Gambling has 
been the besetting sin of Indians and all other peoples of barbarous 
habit, and those just emerging from that state of society. That it 
still adheres to the human race in the highest degrees of civiliza- 
tion can not be denied, but in states of that character the more 
dangerous practices of it are prohibited by law. How much, or how 
little such laws effect, we know. The Indians, if they knew it, 
might be proud of their successful imitation of their white breth- 
ren. But those who wish to get an insight into the game of Bowl 
and Counters which is a sort of dice- thro wing, will find a satisfac- 
tory description of it, in' Chapter XVI of the Song of Hiawatha 
entitled " Pau-puck-keewis." With the exception of the names of 
the pieces, the description will probably apply to most Indian 
tribes. That they are not dismayed at the losses in gambling ap- 
pears from a notice by one of the early Jesuit missionaries, 
that some Hurons of his village returned stark naked at night 
through three feet of snow from such a gambling expedition, laugh- 
ing and jesting, just as if they had been in luck. 

So far we have contemplated the Indians at peace and in their 
social and civic relations. But with most of them the condition of 
peace was not very frequently enjoyed, though perhaps, our imag- 
ination misleads us in supposing that they were constantly at war. 
We see from the. treatise nn " Wyandot Government ", that every 
ablebodied Indian owed military service to his tribe in times of 
war, but we might still have some doubt, whether in all their war- 
like expeditions they called on every man to participate. It ap- 
pears that sometimes only small bands under temporary chiefs 
went abroad, mostly against hereditary enemies, but occasionally 
against tribes, with whom their own tribe was at a truce, or at 
actual peace. It frequently happened that a tribe had to apolo- 
gize and to make reparation for depredations committed by such 
predatory bands or single individuals, in order to avoid a gen- 
eral war. 

A great many of the earlier Indian wars were undoubtedly 


the result of a mistaken policy on the part of the Whites. A 
notable instance of this is the long series of wars carried on by 
the Iroquois against the French and all their Indian allies. The 
policy of Champlain and most of his successors was . to create en- 
mity among the Canadian Indians and those farther south, so as 
to prevent the diversion of the fur-trade to the Dutch and English 
settlements. The French themselves were probably friendly 
enough to the Indians within their own territory, but this policy 
of theirs accomplished, in the course of time the destruction of 
those whom they pretended to love and promised to protect. It 
is true that it also served to diminish and finally almost to an- 
nihilate the victors, but at the time this result was reached, the 
French were no longer in the position to profit by it. When Can- 
ada and the Great West had to be surrendered to the victorious 
British, it was certainly done with the mental reservation, to take 
it from them again at the first favorable opportunity. It may, 
however, be admitted that the French government did not by any 
overt act eneourage the resistance of the Indians, which culmin- 
ated in the conspiracy of Pontiac, for even if it had wanted to 
prevent it, .the power to do so was for the time gone. Not so with 
the personal influence of those French, fur-traders, and their de- 
pendents, who remained in the country, and to whom the Indians 
were wont to look for advice and assistance. This influence re- 
mained, and, the Indians being convinced by time that the res- 
toration of the French power in the northern country would no 
longer be possible, this same influence was enlisted by Great Bri- 
tain in its war against the United States, and continued after the 
surrender of the country east of the Mississippi, west of Lake 
Huron and south of Lake Superior to the United States. The ac- 
tion of the British in retaining the principal forts in the western 
territories for nearly thirteen years after the peace of Paris of 1783 
showed clearly that the transfer was considered only temporary. 
The actual sufferers by this state of uncertainty were, of course, 
the Indians, who relied still on the power of Great Britain for pro- 
tection and considered the forts and the traders as their natural 
support. When, finally, this illusion was dispersed, most of the 
French still remained hostile to the United States, and took the 
first occasion to manifest this hostility by openly assisting the Eng- 
lish in the surprise and capture of Mackinaw, Green Bay and 


Prairie du Chien. They could rely on the Indians. But indepen 
dent of political intrigues, the Indians were always in the way of 
getting involved in war. Their own political organization, so to 
speak, was founded on the responsibility of the clan for the acts of 
an individual. They chose to apply this principle to their rela- 
tion or intercourse with Europeans. If any one of these hap- 
pened to offend them they retaliated upon the first individual of 
that race, sometimes, perhaps, because the retaliation of the state 
or country to which the victim belonged was slow to overtake 
them. But, whatever may have been the causes of war in the 
many thousand different cases, it must be conceded that the Indi- 
ans very readily accepted the offer of it, and were but seldom em- 
barrassed for a cause or pretext. We can not expect that they 
should always have observed the ceremony of announcing their 
hostile intentions to their enemies. Their mode of warfare did 
not favor this way of proceeding. Most of them were undoubt- 
edly personally brave, but they knew the value of a surprise, and 
that the art of war consists in being the strongest at a given op- 
portunity. The chase of the wild animals, too, had at the time 
when their weapons were inadequate to killing game at a distance, 
habituated them to lie in ambush and to approach as stealthily as 
possible. Their number being never very large, they were prone 
to prevent the possibility of losses, even if they were sure of a 
numerical superiority at a given time. 

Hence they avoided a pitched battle, if they could, fought 
from cover, if the situation afiforded any, and were frequently sub- 
ject to sudden panics. Superstition, also, had a marked influence 
upon their mode of fighting and their stratagems. It is usually 
considered that they had no fortifications, but the French and 
Hurons learned to their surprise and damage, that the villages of 
the Iroquois were not only fortified, but also provided with such 
ammunition for defense as the occasion of a siege might demand, 
and circumstances did afford. Most permanent villages had a 
palisade, which sometimes was only a single row of posts set into 
the ground upright, but among the tribes of the Iroquois-Huron 
relationship the palisades were often double and treble, interlaced 
at the top and almost a wooden wall, especially as there was often 
a sheeting of the heaviest bark procurable on the inside of the 
palisade. A ditch, too, was often around such palisades and, con- 


sidering their imperfect tools, we must admire their art as well as 
their perseverence in the construction of such defenses. Very 
often, however, the savages trusted too much to natural advantages) 
leaving certain sides of their fortifications unfinished, or entirely 
nindefended, because approach to them was naturally difficult, or 
seemed impossible, on account of a deep and rapid stream, or a 
broad lake or pond, or because the unfinished part formed a rocky 
precipice. But not only had they learned to build these perma- 
nent fortifications, for at the time when better tools, procured from 
the Europeans, enabled them to execute the work rapidly enough, 
they fortified even their temporary camps, and fought from a space 
enclosed with an abattis, or from walls made of logs hasitly 
thrown together. This may have been the tactics of such tribes 
as inhabited wooded countries, the tribes of the prairies could but 
seldom resort to them. Crude and weak as such defenses would 
appear in modern waifare, they were most decidedly efficient 
against portable weapons, bows and arrows and even muskets. 
The soldiers in the war or the Rebellion often made use of similar 
constructions for purposes of defense. One weak point the Indi- 
ans presented in their excursions, and, as might be inferred, at 
home. They never set any guards. They lay down to sleep, all 
equally tired, and equally sure that no. attack would happen dur- 
ing the night. According to their own custom they were right 
but in their wars with civilized men they often found themselves 
outwitted on account of this neglect. As the Indian went into the 
fight for revenge and his passions excited to the highest pitch, he 
fought desperately, cruelly and mercilessly. It must, however, be 
admitted, that the necessity of fighting at close range, brought the 
alternative of either to kill or to be killed. He might deprive the 
foe in his front of one M'eapon and then spare his life, but that foe 
might still attack him with some other weapon; the foe must 
therefore be killed as soon as possible. To be taken prisoner was, 
in most cases worse than to be killed, hence the defense was as 
desperate as the attack. Prisoners were nevertheless taken, usu- 
ally after the main fight was over, or when defense was impossible 
and not attempted. The dead were scalped, and cases of scalping 
those who only seemed dead, must have been frequent. 

In their first encounters with Europeans the Indians were 
armed with bows and arrows, hatchets or small axes, and knives. 


War-clubs may have been common, but seem to have been the 
weapon of the strongest and most dexterous. That they were 
thrown at an enemy, sometimes for a considerable distance, there 
is no doubt, but the chances to dodge, were probably even with 
those to hit. Hatchets and axes were also used as missiles, often 
with great accuracy. Some tribes had learned to poison the points 
of their arrows. Spears, too, may have formed weapons of some 
tribes, but their transportation being unsuited to the skulking 
mode of hunting and warfare of the savages, they were probably 
used for the defense of the fortifications only. All the points and 
blades of weapons must at that time have consisted of flinty 
stones. Specimens are found in abundance in some localities in 
mounds and graves, and sometimes on the surface. Wounds in- 
flicted with such instruments must have presented ragged edges, 
and were difficult of healing. 

It was not long, however, until the Indians, at first frightened 
by the firearms of the whites, became in a manner reconciled to 
them, and very anxious to avail themselves of the superiority de- 
pendent upon their use. The oldest arm of this kind was the 
arquebuse, heavy and strong, usually loaded with two or more 
bullets and requiring a heavy charge. It must have been fired off 
by a lighted match and from a rest. That this sort of weapon was 
still in use at the battle of Luetzen (1632) where Gustavus Adol- 
phus was killed, is a matter of history . The invention of the flint- 
lock, 1650, was the first step to a lighter and more serviceable gun, 
which was not so heavy, but longer and surer of aim. It was not 
long until the French were furnished with the musket, for we find 
that LaSalle's expedition was furnished with them. For a long 
time there was little or no improvement, but the war of the Revo- 
lution developed the fact that the Americans were practised sharp- 
shooters. This shows that rifles had become the firearm of the 
hunters. The Indians acquired all these portable firearms in suc- 
cession and became, on account of the natural sharpness of their 
sight and the constant practice, dangerous experts in the use of the 
same. It appears that even during Champlain's time (1608 — 1635) 
the Dutch at Fort Orange furnished the Mohawks, and occasion- 
ally some others of the Iroquois tribes, with some firearms, such 
as they were. During the governorship of Frontenac (1672 — 
1682) and 1689 — 1699) the English at Albany continued the prac- 


tice of the Dutch, and the Iroquois were almost all a,rm6d with 
guns. In the meantime the English at Hudson's Bay had armed 
the Knisteneaux in the same way, and the possession of guns and 
ammunition had become what every savage coveted. It was dan- 
gerous to furnish him with it; almost equally dangerous to deprive 
him of this safe-guard against those of his enemies, who possessed 
it already, and who might exterminate him, and then attack his 
Europea'n friends. Hunting, too, had become very difficult with- 
out this new instrument for killing. The possession of guns did 
not make much difference in the system of Indian warfare; tactics 
in a more precise sense they never had, and their strategic move- 
ments had always a close resemblence to those of a hunting party. 
In the course of time a new element entered into savage warfare 
and life, which was bidding fair to change both. This was the 
introduction of the horse. The supply for the Indians came at 
first from the Spaniards, and at later times from the wild stock, 
originating in animals that ran away, and multiplied in a wilder- 
ness seemingly created for such a purpose. The introduction of 
horses by the French and English for the purpose of agriculture 
and transportation may have furnished a few of the northern In- 
dians with these animals at intervals by raids and general stealing, 
but the numbers cannot have been very considerable. It does, 
however, not appear that the Indians, even those first in possession 
of horses, and who soon had an abundance of them, ever formed 
any cavalry, that is they never trained their horses to military 
evolutions. They became daring and accomplished horsemen, 
ranged over an immense expanse of country, executed unexpected 
attacks and surprises, fought sometimes in a scattered or running 
fight with the Whites, or among themselves, but never actually 
and intentionally lased the horse itself as a means of attack. They 
valued it for its speed and endurance, nothing more. The posses- 
sion of the horse brought with it the use of the lasso and the lariat, 
at first for hunting, then for war. The northern Indians were never 
so well supplied both as to the number and the quality of their 
horses, as the Indians of more southern climes, with the un- 
bounded range of pasturage almost all the year round. We can 
not enter upon further particulars of Indian warfare, but We must 
yet say something of their way of treating prisoners taken in 
actual fight or by surprise. We see that these were either killed or 


adopted. The mode of killing was various. In a situation where 
there was danger of escape or rescue, the killing may have been 
sudden, followed by scalping. Some tribes never scalped women , 
though some killed them occasionally, with or without the cus- 
tomary preliminaries of torture. In some cases a few of the pri- 
soners were tortured and killed soon after capture, while the 
remainder were reserved for the women to exercise their cruel 
ingenuity upon them, in which, according to the testimony of the 
men, they excelled the latter, both in tenacity and refinement . 
This torture, which almost always resulted in death, and som e- 
times in the flesh of the victim being eaten, was at othei' times 
terminated by an adoption into the tribe. In the course of tim e 
through the influence of civilized people much of it was aban- 
doned, but .during the earlier times even women were subjected to 
it, as, for instance, in the raid of the Iroquois upon the Illinois. 
Adoption into a family, and hence into the tribe, began to be the 
more frequent, the greater were the losses by fights, by sickness and 
other causes, and it has been computed, that of the Iroquois in the 
beginning of their decline nearly one-half of the fighting men were 
adopted. Torture and abuse seem to have been more fierce and 
frequent among the eastern than among the western tribes . 

Something remains to be said about the- general character of 
Indians. That they were arrant thieves, there is no use denying. 
They were dangerous foes, but very unreliable friends. The 
solemnity displayed in making treaties of peace served but too 
often to hide for the time their insincerity and treachery. We 
must not forget the sins of White Men towards the Indians, and 
the imperfect knowledge of the savages in regard to the ultimate 
power of the white race to crush them, If an intuitive dread of 
such a power often exasperated the savage heart, this dread was 
finally the only thing that made them adhere to the most solemn 
agreements. Considering how little of provocation it usually 
needed to cause an outbreak of savage fury, and how often for 
some wrong actually inflicted upon some member of a tribe re- 
taliation was executed by individuals of the same, that were not 
at all concerned, upon white persons, who most probably were 
ignorant even of the supposed injury, we might almost agree with 
Gen. Sherman, that the only good Indian is a dead one. It has 
J)een customary with some people to make heroes of Indian war- 


riors indiscriminately, but facts do not warrant such a transforma- 
tion. Exceptions do certainly not make a rule, though they are 
said to confirm it. 

The question, whether the character of the Indians has im- 
proved or deterioriated by reason of their contact with civilization 
and the attempts at conversion and civilizing made at different 
times and for sometimes conflicting reasons, often under condi- 
tions most favorable, is connected with Indian history and the fu- 
ture of that people. The first attempts at conversion and civiliza- 
tioTi were scarcely more than pretensions for the opening up of 
commercial resources. The fur-trader was not an instrument of 
civilization. The greatest inducement for an Indian to trade was 
fire-water, and the first care of most traders was to provide a suffi- 
cient quantity of the intoxicant, the next to render the Indian as 
helpless, and himself and his goods as safe as possible. This was 
openly confessed by Canadian council in their address to the king 
of France relative to the proposition, made by the Jesuits, to pro- 
hibit the importation of brandy into trading establishments. The 
excuse of the council was probably as true as anything they could 
hit upon. They said that the sale of brandy was the only thing 
by which the fur-trade could be prevented from leaving the French 
and the St. Lawrence, alid going to the English and tha Hudson. 
Nor was the zeal of the Jesuits in this matter entirely sincere. It 
is notorious that they trafficked in beaver as much as they could, 
openly under the plea that this was all they could do for the sup- 
port of the missions, and in secret pa;rtnership with some traders 
who were, or were not, lay-members of their order. The charge 
of their selling brandy was made by an employee of theirs, who 
was dismissed, because of his alleged falsehoods, but the charge 
of their trafficking was made openly by Frontenac and his council, 
by La Salle and his officers, and even the Indians, one of whom, a 
chief, is said to have remarked in open council, that he had been 
willing enough to act the part of a Christian as long as the mis- 
sionaries had been in his neighborhood, but since there were no 
more beavers, the missionaries, also, had disappeared. This im- 
putation however was not made until the second attempt at con- 
verting the Indians, in the latter half of the seventeenth century 
It was the same order, and there was no less zeal for the establish- 
ment of missions than before, but it was less a zeal for the conver- 


sion of the Indians than for the glory, power and influence of the 
order. Missionaries and fur-traders were equally averse to coloni- 
zation. The latter overlooked the fact that they were slaughtering 
the goose that laid the golden eggs. The former could not expect 
to retain and exercise the same power over colonists, as they would 
be able to wield over converted savages. Thus the Indians were 
deprived of the chance of bettering their condition permanently 
which could only have come by acquiring agriculture and the 
rudiments of the common trades or arts, which had become the 
indispensable concomitants of all colonization. With the reign 
of William and Mary the struggle between France and England 
for the supremacy in North America commenced; seventy years of 
continuous strife, terminating in the final overthrow of the French 
power in the New World. Poor Indian! Both parties solicited, 
employed and corrupted him, only to cast him off, when they had 
to interrupt their quarral, and again to call on him as soon as they 
were ready to begin anew. What a school to form a character in! 
Fortunately he had not much to lose in the way of character, and 
if he was no worse than those who corrupted him, he was perhaps 
no better. 

The influence of the French indirectly brought on the conspi- 
racy of Pontiac, but traders and half-breeds finally submitted to 
and attached themselves to the British, who certainly held the key 
to the supplies of trade. Scarcely had these events passed and 
some sort of order and authority been restored, when the war of 
American Independence began, and when the Indians again were 
tempted by both parties. The war being finally over, British 
obstinacy and secret influence again embroiled the Indians in war 
with the United States. All these wars meant at the same time 
wars among the different tribes. Colonization progressed, but was 
seldom friendly to any tribe, and provocation made it agressive. 
When in 1816 the United States resumed possession and having in 
1803 purchased Louisiana, was acknowledged owner of both sides 
of the Mississippi, it might have dawned upon the understanding 
of the duUest, that the only safety of the Indians could be found 
in submission and adaptation to the ways of living practiced by 
Whites, but the Indians were too much embittered and excited to 
see it. Nor w^re the pretended arrangements of the government 
for inducing them to another mode of life always judicious and 

140 tflESlNDlANS. 

honest, much less the greater majority of the men to whom such a 
task was entrusted. If under all these circumstances the character 
of the Indian was not improved, if they had adopted new vices, 
especially of drunkenness and idleness, and if they had grown still 
more suspicious and vengeful, we ought not to be surprised. One 
of the phenomena growing out of the character of the Indians are 
the numerous treaties and landsales concluded between them and 
the government of the United States. They go to show that for 
capriciousness the Indians can not easily be surpassed, and that 
they were at all times keen traders and greedy of large prices. 
But they were at best very improvident, and always sure to ex- 
haust their resources prematurely. They were clamorous of their 
wants, but careless of the provisions made to meet them. A curi- 
osity in their treaties are the descriptions of land pretended to be 
in their possession, and a map of Indiana, which delineates in va- 
rious colors the boundaries of their land sold with extra grants and 
reservations is as gay as a man could but imagine, if he had never 
seen it. The delineation of the boundaries is a desperate task 
even for a person well informed on such matters, but I will try to 
give at least one specimen of such in the history of those tribes 
who used to be domiciled in our neighborhood. That they were 
but little inclined to respect boundary lines, even if they had 
agreed to them, we may readily imagine. The game they had to 
live upon did not always remain inside of such lines, how then 
could the Indians ? 

Having said so much about Indians in general, I can not omit, 
a trait, which has been observed by many officers and traders, es- 
pecially in the Great West, which usually means that part of the 
United States between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. 
It is the supposed common sign-language. That such a sort of 
communication existed, and that most Indians of the Plains and 
the Rocky Mountains readily fell into the interpretation of signs 
made by them mutually, need not be disputed. The Kiowas and 
tribes in frequent contact with them are said to have had a system 
of such signs almost equivalent to spoken language. Tribes 
farther distant were naturally not proficient in it, and in some 
cases the old men were the only ones that remembered any consi- 
derable part of it. Some signs were so expressive as to be under- 
stood everywhere, as laying down weapons as a sign of peaceable 


intentions, and a few others of similar effect. The presentation 
of the peace-pipe, also, was regarded in the same way, whether 
accepted or not. Many of the supposed signs were preconcerted 
signalsjjand the paucity of iiiost of their languages was a natural 
inducement to the use of gestures. It is hardly necessary to say 
more about the matter. 

In the special relation of matters concerning the three tribes 
of our neighborhood, I intend to follow the arrangement of Judge 
Gale in his book on the " Upper Mississippi," without goii^g any 
further than mentioning the names of kindred tribes. His ar- 
rangement is thus: 1. The Winnebago Confederacy; 2. The Da- 
kota Confederacy; 3. The Ojibwa Confederacy. 


It consisted of the following tribes: Winnebagoes, Menome- 
nees, lowas, Missourias, Osages, Kansas, Quapas, Otoes, Omahas, 
Ponkas and Mandans, and perhdps some others. None of these 
tribes, however, lived in our neighborhood except the Winne- 
bagoes. Some mention has been made of these casually at differ- 
ent other places, and need not be repeated here. Their name, in 
their own language, was 0-chunk-o-raws, and although some au- 
thors have classed them among the Dakota family, it is not pro- 
bable that they really belonged to it. Direct testimony against 
that supposition is given by Schoolcraft; who quotes the Rev.Wm. 
Hamilton, previously a missionary among the lowas and author 
of a grammar of their language, who wrote as follows : There as 
no more difference between the language of the lowas, Otoes and 
Winnebagoes, than between the language of a New Englander and 
a Southerner. 

A few words are common to one tribe, and not to the other. 
They say the Winnebago is the ^rsi language. In the same volume 
J. E. Fletcher, Esq., Indian agent to the Winnebagoes, writes: 
The Winnebagoes claim that they are an original stock; and that 
the Missourias, lowas, Otoes and Omahas sprung from them. 
These Indians call the Winnebagoes their elder brothers, and the 
similarity of their languages renders it probable, that they belong 
to the sam^ stock. Even in 1670 the Winnebagoes told Rev. 
Father AUoiiez tiiat " there were only certain people of the south- 
west who spoke as they did."— -It may at this place be proper to 
remark, that we have a right to conclude, that the name of the 


Menomonees does not belong into the roll of this confederacy, in- 
asmuch as the Menomonees were at the time of the residence of 
Father Allouez among the Winnebagoes the nearest known neigh- 
bors to the east of the latter, and the missionary had formerly 
been among the former, and was well aware of the difference of 
the two languages. — To the two former testimonies we must add 
that of Saterlee Clark, an old Winnebago trader, and one of the 
few who ever learned that language, that he could converse with 
and understand the lowas, and that the lowas called themselves 
0-chunk-o-raws; the statement of Gen Sully, that they spoke the 
same language as the Omahas; and the statement of James Reed, 
Esq., of Trempealeau County, to Judge Gale, that he had not been 
able even to learn the Winneba,go language, on account of its be- 
ing so deeply guttural, notwithstanding he had many years spoken 
Sioux, been a farmer and trader amongst them, and had a cousin 
of the Chief Wabasha for his wife. This we imagine makes a 
strong case against the assertion that the Winnebago is only a 
dialect of the Sioux. 

The Winnebagoes made their entrance into the annals of civil- 
ized men by the visit made to them by Jean Nicolet under the 
order of Gov. Champlain of New France in 1634. Judge Gale andi 
some others put the date at 1639, but Prof. C. W. Butterfield in 
his work: " History of the Discovery of the Northwest by John Nicolei in 
1634" proves it to have been five years earlier. (See "Jean Nic-'^ 
olet " in this work.) For about thirty-eight years we hear but 
little of them, and when Joliet and Marquette came among them 
they still occupied the country in which they had been found by 
Nicolet. It appears, however, from subsequent events that they 
retreated from Green Bay and the lower part of the Fox River and 
were succeeded by the Outagamies or Foxes, with whom they 
seem to have been on terms of amity and peace. The Sacs ap- 
pear to have been either a clan or gens of the Foxes, or their close 
allies. It is erroneous to suppose that the Winnebagoes continued 
to occupy as their own territory, the country in which the French 
had to carry on war with the Foxes. But that they continued 
friendly to the French may be true. At least we have sufficient| 
evidence, that de Caurey or de Carry, a Frenchman,'either a trader 
or coureur de hois was married to Ho-po-ko-e-kaw, the Morning 
Glory, and that he died in one of the different battles around Quet , 


bee, that resulted disastrously to the French, the last of which was 
that on the Plains of Abraham. About seven years after that 
event Capt. Carver visited the widow, who was then considered 
the superior chief of the Winnebagoes, and who treated him with 
great kindness. After the downfall of the French power, the Win- 
nebagoes adhered to the British interest until 1816, when the 
Americans returned and took possession of the forts and of the 
country. In the same year the Portage band, under the chief 
Ghoo-ke-kaw, the Ladle, commonly called De Carry, concluded a 
peace with the United States, and agreed to separate themselves 
from the balance of the tribe until it, also, would make a treaty 
and deliver up their prisoners. Soon after the withdrawal of Brit- 
ish forces and influence the Americans began to flock into the lead 
region, which the Winnebagoes considered as their own territory. 
Julien Dubuque had explored the region as early as 1804, for the 
purpose of working the lead mines, and even Capt. Carver as early 
as 1766 mentions that he saw great quantities of lead lying about 
the streets of the Mascoutin village. So far, however, the Indians 
had managed to hold a monopoly of the production of the metal, 
and as they were slow and unskilful in the working -of the mines, 
they could and did expect, that these would remain for an inde- 
finite time very profitable to them. 

With all their natural jealousy of the intrusion of the white 
minerSjthey were in 1822 induced to allow Col. Johnson of Kentucky 
to work certain mines with the assistance of his slaves. The dis- 
satisfaction was growing, but the 0-chunk-o-raw joined in the great 
council at Prairie du Chien, held by Gen Lewis Cass on the 19th 
of August 1825. With regard to this treaty, which was not inten- 
ded to be observed by the Winnebagoes,the only point relating to 
them, of any consequence, is the definition of their boundaries as 

Beginning at the source of the Rock River near the southern 
end of Lake Winnebago, and following down the river to the Win- 
nebago village about forty miles above its mouth, thence West to 
the Mississippi, thence up the Mississippi to the mouth of the 
Upper Iowa River, thence along the the high bluffs on the east- 
side of the Mississippi to Black River; thence up Black River, 
thence, probably on the watershed, to the source of the left fork of 
the Wisconsin, Lake Vieux Desert; thence down the Wisconsin to 


the Portage, thence acioss the Portage to Fox River, thence down 
Fox River to Lake Winnebago and the grand Kau-Kaulin, includ- 
ing in their claim the whole of Lake Winnebago. Within this 
a tract was secured to the Ottawas along the watershed of the Black 
River and the Mississippi, about the sources of the small streams 
running west. 

In spite of the solemn promise to maintain eternal peace the 
Winnebagoes were restless and discontented. In October 1826 
Fort Crawford at Prairie du Ghien was abandoned and the troops 
transferred to Fort Snelling. The foolish pride of the Winnebagoes, . 
made.them believe that this move had been made out of fear of 
themselvelves. Fort Winnebago on the Wisconsin was not yet 
built. When the troops left Prairie du Chien the Commandant 
took with him two Winnebago prisoners, who were detained for 
some trifling offence. After a while it began to be talked about 
among the Indians that the' two prisoners had been killed. The 
war party among the Winnebagoes used this rumor as a pretext 
for revenge, and it subsequently leaked out that an alliance had 
been made with the Pottawatomies east of Rock River, and a gen- 
eral outbreak arranged for during Spring 1827. Judge Gale says 
that some Winnebagoes had killed eight Chippewas near Fort Snel- 
ling and that the commandant, Colonel Snelling, had seized four 
Winnebagoes and delivered them over to the Chippewas, who 
instantly killed them. Fort Snelling being above St. Paul, and 
within the Sioux country, it is scarcely probable that this hap- 
pened, though the Winnebagoes were bold enough. The first out- 
rage committed was early in spring, during the maple-sugar sea- 
son. The victims were a Frenchman by the name of Methode, 
his wife and five children. This was done on Painted Rock Creek 
or Yellow Creek, about twelve miles from Prairie 'du Chien, and 
only found out, when Methode after the sugar-season failed to 
return. One Indian was charged with the outrage, and admitted 
his own guilt, charging others with participation. 

Among the inhabitants of Prairie du Chien the chief Red Bird 
had been regarded as a protector and the utmost confidence reposed 
in him. When the rumor of the killing of the aforementioned 
prisoners had been spread among the Winnebagoes, they did not 
stop to ascertain whether it was true or not, but their leading 
chiefs held a council and resolved upon retaliation. Red Bird was 


called upon to go out and "take meat" as they phrase it. Accor- 
dingly he and two others went to the house of Jas . H. Lockwood,who 
happened to be absent. The Indians loaded their guns in pres- 
ence of the servant girl, and then entered the bedroom of Mrs. 
Lockwood, who escaped from them into the store of her brother. 
There she found Duncan Graham, an old trader, known as an Eng- 
lishman to all the Indians, and during the British occupation of 
1812-16 commandant of Prairie du Chien. The Indians had fol- 
lowed her into the store, but Mr. Graham succeeded by some 
means to make them leave. Red Bird and his savage accomplices 
then went the same day to McNair's coulee, about two miles south- 
east of the village, to the house of Rijeste Gagnier, inhabited by 
Gagnier and his wife, one boy three years and a girl about eleven 
months old, their children, and an old soldier named Solomon 
Lipcap. The Indians were received with customary civiHty and 
asked whether they wanted anything to eat. They said they 
wanted milk and fish, and Mrs. Gagnier turned to get it for them, 
when she heard the click of Red Bird's rifle, which was instantly 
followed by the discharge of it, the body of her murdered husband 
falling at her feet. Chi-hon-sic, the second Indian, had at almost 
the same instant shot Lipcap. Mrs. Gagnier grasped the rifle of 
We-kau, the third Indian, wrenched it from him, and being from 
trepidation and excitement unable to use it, took her oldest child, 
and still holding the rifle, ran to the village to give the alarm. 
Several armed men went out with her, and brought away the 
bodies of the two murdered men, and the little girl, who had been 
scalped by the cowardly We-kau, who probably was enraged at 
having been deprived of his gun by the mother. The girl recov- 
ered and lived to be the mother of a numerous family. 

On the same day (June 26th) two keelboats commanded by 
Capt. Allen Lindsay, which a few days before had ascended the 
river laden with provisions for the troops at Fort Snelling, passed 
the mouth of the Bad Axe on their way back to St. Louis. 

On the way up some hostile demonstrations had been made 
by the Dakotas, which induced Capt. Lindsay to ask that his 
crew should be furnished with arms and ammunition. Col. Snel- 
ling, the commanding officer, complied with this request, and the 
thirty-two men of the crew were provided with thirty-two muskets 
^nda'barrel of ball cartridges. The Dakotas occupied the right 


bank of the river, and Capt. Lindsay and his men were on their 
guard against any attack from them ; but they had no apprehen- 
sion of any attack from the Winnebagoes, who occupied the left 
bank of the Mississippi. 

The village of Wabasha, the site of the present city o^ 
Winona, was the lowest point on the river at which they expected 
to encounter the Dakotas.- Having passed this point in safetyi 
and a, strong wind having sprung up,, the boats parted com- 
pan}', and one of them, the 0. H. Perry, by the time it reached the 
mouth of the Bad Axe, was several miles in 'advance of the other- 

In the mean time thirty-seven Winnebagoes, inspired by the 
same common feelings of vengeance, cruelty and hate, which had 
led to the murder of Methode and his family, and which had on 
that very day instigated the invasion of the peaceful home of Gag- 
nier and the murder of its inmates by Red Bird, Chi-hon-sic, and 
We-kau, had, in pursuance doubtless of a common purpose to ex" 
terminate the whites, concealed themselves upon an island in the 
Mississippi near the mouth of the Bad Axe, between which and 
the left bank of the river, it was known, that the two keel-boats 
would pass on their return from Fort Snelling. 

These boats, in model and size, were similar to ordinary canal 
boats, and furnished considerable protection from exterior attacks? 
with small arms, to those on board, who concealed themselves 
below the gunwales. As the " Perry " approached the island 
where these hostile savages were concealed, and when within thirty 
yards of the bank, the air suddenly resounded with the blood- 
chilling and ear-piercing cries of the war-whoop, and a volley of 
rifle balls rained across the deck. Of the sixteen men on board 
either from marvelous good luck, or because they were below 
deck, only one man fell at the first fire. The crew now concealed 
themselves in the boat below the waterline, sufi'ering it to float 
whithersoever the current and the high east wind might drive it. 
The second volley resulted in the instant death of one man, an 
American named Stewart, who had risen to return the first fire, 
and his musket protruding through a loophole, showed some Win- 
nebago where to aim. The bullet passed directly through his 
heart, and he fell dead with his finger on the trigger of his undis- 
charged gun. 

The boat now grounded on a sandbar, and the Indians rushed 


to their canoes intending to board her. The crew having recovered 
from their panic, and seeing that the only escape from savage 
butchery was vigorous war, seized their arms and prepared to give 
the enemy a worm reception. In one canoe containing several 
savages, two were killed, and in their dying struggles upset the 
canoe, and the rest were obliged to switxl ashore, where it was some 
time before those who were not disabled by wounds could restore 
thier arms to fighting order. Two of the Indians succeeded in get- 
ting on board the keel-boat, both of whom were killed. One fell 
into the water, and the other into the boat, in which he was car- 
ried down river, but in this hand-to-hand conflict the brave com- 
mander of the crew, named Beauchamp, was killed by the first of 
the two boarders, who in his turn was killed by a daring sailor 
named Jack Mandeville^called " Saucy Jack " who shot the rash 
warrior through the head, and he fell overboard, carrying his gun 
with him. Mandeville now assumed command of the crew, whose 
numbers had been reduced to ten effective men. He sprang into 
the water on the sand bar for the purpose of shoving off the boat 
and escaping from their perilous position, and was followed by 
four resolute men of his crew. The balls flew thick and fast about 
them, passing through their clothes; but they persisted and the 
boat was soon afloat. Seeing their prey escaping, the Winneba- 
goes raised a yell of mingled rage and despair, and gave the whites 
a farewell voUey. . It was returned with three hearty cheers, and 
ere a gun could be reloaded, the boat had floated out of shooting 
distance, and the survivors were safe, arriving at Prairie du Chien 
about sunset the next day, the 27th of June. 

The casualties of this engagement were, two of the crew killed, 
two mortally and two slightly wounded, while it was supposed 
that ten or more Indians were killed and a great number wounded. 
The other keelboat, under the command of Capt. Lindsay 
himself reached the mouth of the Bad Axe aboiit midnight. The 
Indians opened fire upon her, which was promptly returned; one 
ball only hit the boat, 'doing no damage; the others passed harm- 
lessly in the darkness through which she pursued her way, and 
arrived safely at Prairie du Chien on the 28th. 

In this narrative of the attack of the two boats, I have copied, 
from M. M. Strong's " History of Wisconsin Territory, " who in 
turn took most items from an anonymous article on the " Winne- 


bago Outbreak of IS 27 " of v/hich Mr. Wm. J. Snelling, a son of 
Col. Snelling, who had come down from the fort with Capt. Lind- 
say on this trip, is supposed to have been the author. 

The inhabitants in and about Prairie du Chien were generally 
and greatly alarmed. They left their farms and houses and 
crowded into the old dilapidated fort, where, however, they speedily 
established a very effective discipline, and organized a force of about 
ninety effective men and women. They repaired fort and block- 
house as well as they could, brought out and mounted a swivel-gun 
and the wall-pieces left by the troops, and all the blacksmiths were 
brought in requisition to repair the condemned muskets. Judge 
Lockwood fortunately had plenty of powder and lead, which he 
liberally furnished, so that matters began to look like defense. An 
experienced voyageur crossed the Mississippi and succeeded in 
reaching Fort Snelling, whence, upon the report of the situation 
Col. Snelling, after some delay, came down with two companies of 
U. S. infantry. An express having been sent to Galena, the people 
there were greatly alarmed and confused, but no attack followed. 
On the fourth of July Gov. Cass arrived at Prairie du Chien. 
Having ordered into the service of the United States the company 
organized by McNair, the governor hastened in his canoe to Ga- 
lena. Here a company of volunteers was raised under Capt. Abner 
Fields, to whom the command of Fort Crawford was assigned, and 
who proceeded to Prairie du Chien in a keel-boat.and took posses- , 
sion of the barracks. The two companies were mustered into ser- 
vice by Martin Thomas, Lieutenant of the U. S. army. On the 
arrival of Col. Snelling he assumed command of the post. In the 
meantime Gov. Cass proceeded to St. Louis and conferred with 
Gen. Atkinson, the commander of Jefferson Barracks and of the 
western military department. Gen. Atkinson moved at once with 
all his disposable force up the Mississippi. During the interven- 
ing time the miners in the lead region had organized a company of 
mounted volunteers, which numbered over one hundred men, well 
mounted and armed, commanded by Col. Henry Dodge. Their 
peculiar duty being the protection of the settlers in their own 
region against any attack of the savages, they were also ready to 
pursue them and to give battle. 

Red Bird and the other Winnebagoes having fled up the Wis- 
consin, Gen. Atkinson moved his army up that river in boate" 


being flanked on either shore by a detachment of Dodge's mounted 
men, who drove the Indians out of every hiditig place. 

Major Whistler, in command of Fort Howard moved up Fox 
River with his force, being joined at Little Butte des Morts by 
about sixty Oneida and Stockbridge Indians under Capt. Ebenezer 
Childs and Joseph Dickinson. His force arrived on the 1st day of 
September on the high bluff, on which in the following year the 
erection of Fort Winnebago was commenced, where he encamped 
by order of Gen. Atkinson to await the arrival of the General and 
the forces with him. 

The Winnebagoes were now in a desperate plight, being con- 
fronted with such forces and Col. Snelling being in command with 
another strong force at Prairie du Chien. There was no alternative 
but to appeal to the mercy of their pursuera. 

Mr. Strong devotes nearly three pages to the description of the 
ceremonies, but the facts were, that Red Bird and his accomplices 
were surrendered to Major Whistler by an unarmed deputation of 
about thirty Indians led by Car-i-mau-nee, a distinguished chief. 
Soon after the surrender of these captives Gen. Atkinson and the 
force of Col. Dodge arrived in the camp. The prisoners were de- 
livered over to Gen. Atkinson, who sent them to Fort Crawford. 
He met the gray-headed De Kau-ray, who, in presence of Col. 
Dodge disclaimed for himself and the other Winnebagoes any un- 
friendly feelings against the United States, and disavowed any con- 
nection with the murders on the Mississippi. Gen. Atkinson then 
discharged the volunteers, assigned two companies of regulars to 
the occupation of Fort Crawford, and ordering the other regulars 
to their respective posts, he returned to Jefferson Barracks. Thus 
ended the Winnebago outbreak. 

It might be said that an extraordinary display had been made 
to put down a rather insignificant ebullition, made by a part of 
an insignificant tribe, yet, when we reflect on the Indian mode of 
warfare, on the cause of this outbreak, which rooted in the contempt 
of the forces among the Winnebagoes, and on the fact, that since 
the evacuation of the coun-try by the British in 1816 no actual dis- 
play of the forces of the United States in the West had been made, 
we cannot but bestow merited praise upon the action of General 
Cass, Gen. Atkinson and all other commanders in this war. This 
was the last open outbreak of the Winnebagoes, although their 


loyalty was more than suspected in the Black Hawk war in 1882, 
and they were actually compelled to surrender eight of their war- 
riors for having killed white men in the last named war. 

I have in the above delineated the boundaries claimed by the 
Winnebagoes, but it must not be supposed that they respected 
them very closely. It seems that most of the time they were on 
unfriendly terms with the Sioux, but from a note I found in the 
old Minnesota Atlas it appears that they often crossed the Missis- 
sippi, and roved about in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota 
and even asserted their supposed rights by molesting white settlers 

In a treaty concluded at Prairie du Chien August 1st, 1829 
the tribe ceded their land south of the Wisconsin and west of a 
line running south from Lake Puckaway by Duck Creek, Fourth 
Lake near Madison, Sugar river, and Pee-kee-tol-a-ka, by which 
the United States secured the Winnebago interest in the lead 
mines. By the treaty of September 15th 1832, after the Black- 
Hawk war, the Winnebagoes ceded to the United States aU their 
land south of the Wisconsin and Fox River, for which, besides the 
consideration expressed in money, the tribe received an interest in 
the neutral land beyond the Mississippi. In the next treaty they 
surrendered all their land in Wisconsin and their claims in Minne- 
sota, for which they received land on the Minnesota river. 

Owing to injudicious selections, to remonstrances by the people 
of Minnesota, and other obstacles, they did not settle down in any 
permanent location until spring 1855, when their chiefs had sel- 
ected land on the Blue Earth River, south of the Minnesota River. 
Here they did extremely well in agriculture, had comfortable 
houses and prospered generally, until the Sioux outbreak in 1862, 
in which, however, as a tribe they did not participate, though in- 
dividuals may have been involved. This event, however, was of 
very serious consequences to the Winnebagoes, as the people of 
the state, after the disastrous experiences they had had with Indi- 
ans in the midst of the white population, naturally objected to the 
presence of any of the race among them. So the government 
transported Winnebagoes as well as Sioux to a desert on the Mis- 
souri, above Fort RandaU. They suffered greatly and very un- 
justly. In their new reservation on Crow Creek, Dakota, they 
could not practice agriculture, because the ground was a barren 
waste; they could not hunt for fear of the other tribe. They left 


as fast as they could for the Omaha reservation, where, finally, 
they were settled more favorably and yet remain. It, appears, 
nevertheless that a remnant of Indians and half-breeds of this 
tribe never removed from this state, and some of these are yet in 
the neighborhood of Black River, and receive yet, or used to re- 
ceive but a few years ago, some annuities. When in 1863 the 
government threatened to remove the tribe, the old chiefs, De 
Carry (Kau-ree,) Winneshiek, Dandy , and their families, and some 
others, fled to Wisconsin. De Carry was the grandson of Ho-po- 
ko-e-kaw, the Morning Glory, inentioned above as the chieftess of 
the tribe about a hundred years ago. He died in poverty in the 
fall of 1864. He was undoubtedly loyal to the government, and a 
sincere friend to his white neighbors, at least as far as they de- 
served it, wMeh they probably not always did. As he had cap- 
tured Black Hawk and the Prophet in 1832, the United States 
ought to have given him at least land enough to subsist upon. 

The numerical strength of the tribe was variously estimated 
at 230 warriors in 1736, at 360 in 1763, and by Capt. Carver at 
about 200. The census of the tribe 1859 was 2,256 souls, but in 
1865 it was only 1,900, in which, however, the stragglers in Wis- 
consin do not seem to have been included. 

They were as a tribe, vigorous and athletic. The Sioux called 
them 0-ton-kah, said to mean a large and strong people. 

They appear to be doing better than any other tribe in their 
new location, and furnished, during the war a number of soldiers, 
of whom about one hundred returned to their relations in 1866. 

They have adopted the dress of white men, and possibly 
given up tribal organization by this time. 

Note. — There are yet in this state about 1400 Winnebago In- 
dians, who are mostly living in Jackson and Adams county. Most 
of them have homesteads of about forty acres each; about one- 
third have houses of logs or boards, but they prefer their wigwam 
which is to be found on every farm. Every Indian in the state is 
entititled to a homestead on some place'upon the public lands, but 
some can not be reconciled to stationary life. They hunt and fish 
and remain poor, which however may also be said of those who have 
settled down, as corn, their only crop, is hardly sufficient for their 
most urgent necessities. [Prom late newspapers.] 

Of the other members of this so-called confederation not one 


was domiciled within one hundred miles of the boundaries of our 
county and a very short mention of them is sufl&cient iu this place. 
Menomonees. The eastern neighbors of the Winnebagoes, 
though not of their race, being Algonkins. Even their name, 
which in the Algonkin means " Wild Rice ", indicates that. 

lowas. A small tribe, although the state of Iowa took its name 

from them. They are now in Kansas. They furnished 43 soldiers. 

Akansea or Quapaws. t have my doubt about the propriety 

of including this tribe in the 0-chunk-o-rah family or Winnebago 

Confederation. They are also in Kansas. 

Osages or Wa-saw-see. They were located on the Osage river 
before the rebellion, and some sympathized with it, but the majo- 
rity remained loyal. They are now m the Indian Territory. 

Missourias and Oltoes. They "were neighbors to the lowas, and 
may be so now on their reservation. 

Kansas or Kaws. They are down in Indian Territory. Some 
traits in their history induce a lingering doubt whether this tribe 
is not descended from the remnant of the Kaw-Kaws or Neutrals, 
of the Iroquois relationship, but exterminated, or at least nearly 
so by the latter. They furnished about eighty soldiers for the 

Omahas. This is the tribe with whom 'the Winnebagoes are 
now united on the same reservation. They are similar in language 
and habits, and I think they have given up tribal organization. 

Ponhas. They are on the Missouri River in the state of 

Mandans. They are on the Missouri, associated with Aricka- 
rees and Gros-Ventres, but it is doubtful, whether they belong to 
them, or to the 0-chunk-o-raws. 

This finishes what I thought proper to relate about Winne- 
bagoes and their relations. Like all Indian history theirs is in- 
volved in doubts and contradictions, which to clear away or dis- 
solve requires much time, patience, and ethnological research, 
which can not be expended in a local history. 


If I begin the history of this powerful confederacy, or rather 
extensive and numerous ethnological family, with the outlines of 
the territory claimed or possessed by them at the time of the treaty 
of Prairie du Chien in the year 1825, it is not because they entered 


history first at that time, hut to establish their claim to our atten- 
tion, and to a place in this book. We have seen that the boundary 
between them and the Winnebagoes, as established by the afore- 
said treaty, ran along the bluffs on the east side of the Mississippi 
river as far as Black River. From that point the boundary be- 
tween them and the Chippewas began, and ran in an indefinite, 
though probably intended to be direct, line, to a point on the Chip- 
pewa River, half a day's march below Chippewa Falls, a point not 
very far from Eau Claire, thence to the Red Cedar River immedi- 
ately below the falls; thence to the St. Croix River, which it 
strikes at a place called the Standing Cedar, about a day's paddle 
in canoe above the lake; thence passing between two lakes, called 
by the Chippewas " Green Lakes ", and by the Sioux " the lakes 
they bury the eagles in "; thence to the standing cedar that " the 
Sioux split," thence to Rum River, crossing it at the mouth of a 
small creek called " Choking Creek ", a long day's march from the 
Mississippi; thence to a point of woods that propels into 
the prairie, half a day's march from the Mississippi ; 
thence in a straight line to the mouth of the first river 
"which enters the Mississippi on its west side above the mouth of 
Sac River; thence ascending the said river (above the mouth of Sac 
River) to a small lake at its source; thence in a direct line to a 
lake at the head of Prairie River, which is supposed to enter the 
Crow Wing River on its south side; thence to Ottertail Lake Por- 
tage; thence to said Ottertail Lake and down through the middle 
thereof to its outlet; thence in a direct line so as to strike Buffalo 
River, half way fiom its source to its mouth, and down said river 
to Red River thence descending Red River to the mouth of Outard 
or Goose Creek. The southern boundary line, between the Sioux 
and Sacy and Foxes, was at the same time established as follows: 
Commencing at the mouth of the Upper Iowa River, on the west 
bank of the Mississippi, and ascending the_said river to its left 
fork; thence up that fork to its source; thence crossing the fork of 
Red Cedar River (in Iowa) in a direct line to the second or upper 
fork of the Des Moines River; thence in a direct line to the lower 
forkof the Calumet River, and down that river to the Missouri. 
Within the first boundary lines were included in Wisconsin the 
western part of La Crosse county, the southern part of Jackson 
pounty, and a great part of Eau Claire county, all of the counties 


of Trempealeau, Buffalo, Pepin and Pierce, and parts of Dunn and 
St. Croix county, as they are now constituted. In Minnesota it 
included thfe Mill Lacs country, the ancient seat of the'DakotaSj 
who claimed to have been created on that lake; and who were still 
in possession of it, when Hennepin was a prisoner among them 
in 1680. 

Judge Gale enumerates the following bands : 
Wapahkoota ) Resided in Minnesota and originated the mas- 
Medawakauton J sacre in 1862. 

Wahnaton ) ^^^i'^^d ^^ Minnesota and were called "upper bands." 
Sisseton I These four bands are often called ' Santees. Re- 

) servation at Fort Randall. 
Two Kettle 

or Teton .Reside in Dakota Teritory and will no further be 
Blackfeet ( mentioned in this history. 
Sans- Arc 
Assiniboins , 

From a note in the Minnesota Atlas it appears that the three 
original tribes of the Dakotas were the Isanti, on the east side of 
the Mississippi, the Yanktons on the Minnesota, and the Titon- 
wans west of the Yanktons. From the earliest reports we have of 
the Assiniboins as to their situation, we must suppose that they 
belonged to the Isanti, from which name that of Sant'ee was de- 
rived, but for some time the Assiniboins had joined the Algonkins 
against the Dakotas and made war upon their own relations. In 
fact the Sioux were originally situated much farther east and made 
during the earlier times of the French explorations several excur- 
sions nearly up to Sault St. Mary. The Knisteneaux, or Kriste- 
neaux, between Lake Superior and Hudson's Bay, the ancesters of 
the Crees on the Saskatchewan, prominent in the Riel Rebellion, 
had become armed with guns by the English traders on the Bay, 
and forming an alliance with other Algonkins, notably the Chip- 
pewas, and with the Assiniboins, had begun war upon the Santee 
Sioux, driving them slowly westward, occupying, the Kisteneaux 
to the north, and the Chippewas south of Lake Superior the land 
of the Sioux. This was the origin of the hereditary .war betweeii 

mE INDIANS. ,165 

Sioux andiGhippewaa, existing before the time of the first misgion 
on Lake Superior, which, however, was still in (Janger from an 
attack by the Sioux. Nicolet heard of them in 1634 when he was 
at Green Bay and upon the Fox River, but did probably not see 
any" of them. Marquette and Joliet do not mention them.; Hen- 
nepin however does not seen to have been the first white man 
among them for he was preceded as early as 1654 by two young 
Frenchmen, employees of the fur-trade, who adapted themselves 
to the mode of life among the Indians and were about two 
years with them. He, was also preceded by Du Lu'th, who had 
visited several of the Sioux villages about 1678. From the facility 
with which he procured: the release of Hennepin and his compan- 
ions we must conclude that he had acquired the language and a 
certain respect and influence among the Sioux. After the return 
of Du Luth to Quebec and to France, Gov. De la Barre, who suc- 
ceeded to the first administration of Frontenac, sent one Nicholas 
Perrot with a small force, and he took formal possession of the 
country by proclamation and other ceremonies at the Falls of St. 
Anthony. He erected Fort St. Nicholas on the westside of Lake 
Pepin, but soon returned to Quebec. In the year 1695 Le Sueur 
built a fort on one of the islands near the mouth of the St. Croix, 
but he also returned to Quebec and afterwards to, France, from 
which country he returned in 1700 with thirty workmen, coming 
by way. of the Mississippi river direct, , but he proceeded up the 
Minnesota River,;and .built a fort at Blue Earth. The Sioux con- 
tinued on friendly terms with the French, but .tradings and explo- 
ration were discouraged by the government for about twenty years 
a after Le Sueur's second enterprise. 

, . In 1727 the Sieur de la Perriere built a fort on the east side of 

ijLake Pepin, in the neighborhood of Stockholm. He named it 

after Gov. Beauharnois of Canada. With true French ostentation 

La Perriere celebrated the .governor's birthday at the ' fort with a 

feast and such, fireworks as he had on hand. This is related by 

Father Guignas, a Jesuit missionary who was present. The great 

iiftood of 1728. .drowned out Fort Beauharnois, and the party re- 

utiurned.. It seems that the fort erected by Perrot was from time to 

i.fcime ooGupied and continued to be used as a trading post, chang- 

. ing its name with the occupants, 

I '. .. w«ome th^-period of the final struggle between Irapce 


and Great Britain for the sole possession of the northern part of 
the new world. The French called on all the friendly tribes of In- 
dians for assistance, and most tribes, even the far-off Winnebagoes, 
responded to the call, with the exception of the Sioux. Whether 
they had war enough at home, or whether the distance alarmed 
them, as it well might, they staid about home. During that time 
there were probably few traders among them, the delivery of goods 
from France, and even fifom Canada had become risky. At the 
termination of the struggle the English were slow to take posses- 
sion of the distant posts, and abandoned Green Bay two years 
after taking possession, to prevent the garrison" from falling into 
the hands of the Pontiac conspirators. Prairie du Chien had pro- 
bably no garrison. The Sioux, though not on British territory to 
any great extent, did not join the Pontiac conspiracy, but are said 
to have offered Col. Johnson, general Indian Agent of the British 
government five thousand warriors against this conspirac}'. We 
find no notice of any participation of Dakotas in the struggle be- 
tween England and the Colonies. As they were always at war 
with the Chippewas and very often with Sacs and Foxes and others 
of their neighbors, they did unintentionally good service to the 
cause of the United States by preventing large detachments of their; 
enemies to be sent to aid the British. They also seem to have 
remained neutral during the Ohio troubles, which terminated in 
the defeat of the Indians by General Wayne at the Maumee in 
1794. It appears, however, that as early as 17S0, Joseph Aird and 
Duncan Graham, both Englishmen, traded with the Sioux at Prai- 
rie du Chien, spending the winter among; them, and the summer 
at the village. Some time later, perhaps in the beginning of the 
present century. Col. Robert Dickson engaged in the same trade in 
the same locality. He, also, was an Englishman, and a very 
shrewd and able officer. How he he got into possession of the in- 
formation, can not be told, but he collected a body of two hundred 
Sioux, one hundred Winnebagoes, some Chippewas, and most of 
the Menomonees, and with some Canadians, attacked and took the 
fort at Mackinaw, being the first person to inform Lieutenant 
Hanks, the American commander of that post, of the declaration: 
of war between the United States and Great Britain. The leading 
spirits at Prairie du Chien, among them Joseph Rolette, who had 
commanded the Canadians at the surprise of Mackinaw, planned 


an expedition to Prairie du Chien, for which as early as 1813 can- 
nons and other materials of war had already been forwarded to 
the portage between Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. In 1815 the 
United States had sent up a company of regulars, and some gun- 
boats, also some militia recruited in Missouri. Gen. Clarke went 
up with them, but returned again to St. Louis, leaving Lieut. Per- 
kins in command ot the regulars and of the old Fort Crawford, 
which had been hastily repaired. The commander of Fort Macki- 
naw sent the two hundred Sioux, the hundred Winnebagoes, and 
some Chippewas and Menomonees to Green Bay, together with 
two companies of fur-trade engages raised by Rolette and Anderson. 
Here they were joined by about seventy-five of the Canadian set- 
tlers, and then ascended by the common route the Fox and de- 
scended the Wisconsin. Their first attack was directed against the 
gun-boats, which moved down the river, carrying with them pro- 
visions and ammunition. Lieutenant Perkins defended the defective 
fort for four days, until Col. McKay, the commander in chief of 
the British party, began to shoot red-hot cannon balls against the 
wooden stockade. A surrender was then arranged, and the Ame- 
rican troops were after a few days shipped to St. Louis, not without 
having been in great danger of being massacred during the time 
of their detainment, and followed by the Indians as far as Rock 
Island. This was the first open hostility of the Sioux against the 
United States. After the treaty of Prairie du Chien, the Sioux had 
no part in any war with the United States, though they were some- 
what restless during the Winnebago war. During the Blackhawk 
War the Sioux, at least some of them, assisted in the fights against 
the Sacs and Foxes, especially at and after the battle of the Bad 
Axe. This was partly a quarrel of their own, since they had been 
at war for a long time with the same tribes, and had in 1830 killed 
seventeen of them in the neighborhood of Prairie du Chien. The 
United States had as early as 1806 established a peace with them, 
IShrough the agency of Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike, who purchased of 
them in 1805 a tract of land of about six miles wide and ten miles 
long above the mouth of the Minnesota River, on a part of which 
Fort Snelling was built in 1820, and maintained as a permanent 
military station, until the war of the Rebellion broke out. 

We have seen where the Sioux were located about sixty years 
(igo, At that time the Medawakautons being the nearest to our 


own location, consisted of seven bands, gentes or clans, each under 
a chief, the tribe being under a head-chief. We have no authentic 
records regarding the succession of these chiefs. Among the 
eastern Indians this succession was not hereditary as we have 
seen in the abridgement on " Wyandot Government," although a 
certain class of chiefs was always taken from the same gens, clan, 
or band. For want of better information, and because it agrees 
with some experiences and traditions among the earlier settlers, 
I will here insert what the " Minnesota Atlas " says about the 

" Wabasha was the leading hereditary chief of the People of 
the Leaf, (or M'day-wa-kautons,) and in all intertribal affairs of 
importance his word was law. He was living in 1819, and visited 
Major Forsyth at Prairie du Chien, on his expedition with Col. 
Leavenworth, to establish the post at Fort Snelling. Major For- 
syth was the first Indian agent who ever visited Minnesota, and 
has been considered good authority on Indian matters. He also 
states that he had a visit from Red Wing, another noted chief, dur- 
ing the same expedition. Red Wing was then an old man about 
sixty years of age, which would show that he was born about 

The " Atlas " mentions another chief, who seems to have 
been appointed as such by Governor Clark, of St. Louis, but seems 
to have been a chief only in title. This is Ta-ha-ma, the " Rising 
Moose." He was one of the. most remarkable men of his nation, 
a great orator and diplomatist, and a character of great influence 
among the Dakotas. He was born at Prairie aux Allies (AUiers ?) 
now Winona, and in his younger days was noted for his intelli- 
gence, daring and activity. During a -game in boyhood he lost 
one of his eyes, which circumstance caused the French afterwaird 
to call him ^^ Bourgne," or " One-Eyed " a name by; which, he was 
commonly known, though he . was sometimes calledthe "' (9W 
Priest." . He figured prominently in the treaty , between Pike,, and 
the Dakotota Chiefs in 1805. Pike, refers to him in termp • of res- 
pect and confidence as "my friend.!' During the war of JLS12 he 
rendered valuable service to the American cause. Governor Clark 
of St, Louis employed him as a scout and messenger, in which 
capacity he braved many dangers and hardships. The, governor 
urgave birain ISlfiacommissionasChief of the Sioux nation, together 


with a captaia's uniform and a medal. He was very proud of 
these and kept them to the day of his death. His services in the 
American cause, his ability and intelligence, high sense of honor 
and noble bearing made him highly esteemed by the white people. 
He died in April 1860, probably about one hundred years of age. 

It seems to me, and must appear to a number of, other per^ 
sons, who happened to have been residents of this county before 
1860 that this Indian was the one, who came, as soon as the 
weather permitted, every spring along the banks of the Missis- 
sippi, with a small crowd of women and younger men, setting up 
their te-pees on certain places more or less frequented by them 
every year at the same time. The people called him Tomahaw, 
which they interpreted as meaning One-eyed. I think, also, that, 
I was told, that the old man was ^ priest, but could never connect 
these stories. I am inclined to think that he lived yet in 1862, 
but as he never appeared afterwards, we began, to think he might 
have been transported with the othe r Sioux in 1863. His partici- 
pation in the outbreak of 1862 was a physical impossibility, as he 
was not only old but also very feeble and emaciated. 

I find by comparing notes that others agree with me regard- 
ing Ta-ha-ma or To-ma-ha having lived beyond 1860. Mr. M. 
Polin, who lived in Wabasha in 1861 and knew the old chief quite 
well, says that the captain's uniform presented to Ta-ha-ma by 
Gen. Clark, as mentioned above, was very useful to its owner by 
reminding steamboat travelers, at that time a very numerous class, 
of his presence, his services, and his old age and infirmities. He 
would meet the boats at some landing or woodyard, go up into the 
cabin, show his papers, and beg for money among the passengers. 
These were at that time a numerous and usually well-to-do class, 
each giving the old chief according to inclination, either for the 
fun of his appearance, or out of compassion, or perhaps to get rid 
of his importunities. Sometimes the gift would be a drink of 
whiskey, and being repeated by others inclined to make sport of 
the Indian, the old man, then probably nearly one hundred years 
of age, would succumb to liberality and temptation. Often, how- 
ever, he collected a sum quite considerable for an Indian to pos- 
sess, and which furnished him with some necessities of life, and 
usuffly v/ith a spree for several days, after which he was ready to 


display his blue coat, brass buttons, shoulder-straps, and beaver 
hat again on a new raid on the compassion, etc. of travelers. 

Another chief of prominence was To-way-a-ta-doo-tah or Lit- 
tle Crow. There were two of the same name, father and son. The 
old chief was very anxious that ,his people should be taught to 
rely for subsistence upon the products of the soil, rather than the 
precarious fruits of the chase, and set them a good example by 
working industriously in his own field. It would have been well 
for the whole tribe if his oldest son, who succeeded him in the 
chieftainship, although the father was very sorry, that he had no 
other son left, on whom the dignity could be bestowed. Gen. H. 
H. Sibley, who relates his last visit to the old chief, in company 
with Alexander Faribault the interpreter, mentions his admoni- 
tions to the young man, but forgets to state when the event hap- 
pened. Little Crow, sr., died the next day. 

Originally the power of the chiefs was very great, but from the 
date of the first treaties with the government it began to decline, 
until finally the chief was merely considered as the mouth-piece 
of the Soldiers Lodge, the members of which constituted the only 
real power in the bands. 

We must now return to events next following the often men- 
tioned treaty of 1825. Sept. 29th 1837 a treaty was concluded by 
which the Sioux ceded to the United States all their lands East 
of the Mississippi. This included all the land they had in what 
is now Wisconsin and a larger tract in Minnesota between the St. 
Croix and the Mississippi including, among other things the sites 
of St. Paul and Minneapolis. 

Two treaties, one in 1830 and the other in 1836 relate almost 
exclusively to changes in the southern boundary line. In the 
treaty of 1851 the Sioux, or those bands of them that were parties 
to the treaty ceded all their lands in Iowa and Minnesota to the 
United States, receiving instead of it a reservation, from the west 
boundary line of the tract ceded along the Minnesota River, to 
Yellow Medicine River on the south side and Tchay-tam Bay 
River on the northside, being not less than ten miles on each side 
of the general course of the river. The treaty was changed by the 
Senate of the United States. This change was a radical one, as it 
involved the removal of the Indians to the westside of the Une 
where the reservation was to begin. The Indians being, dissatis- 


fied, they were allowed to stay on a smaller reseri?&,tidn, the re- 
mainder being sold for their benefit. From about that tiijie 'dates 
the effort made foi* the civilization of the .annuity Indians. This 
was strenuously opposed by most of thie tribes and their members, 
because it involved some ceremonies, that cast an indirect riepfoach 
on their mode of life and their ancient legends and traditions, be- 
sides conferring upon individuals some benefits, to which the 
greedy crowd also considered theniselves entitled. To tell the 
truth, the annuity system was corrupting the Indians more and 
more and their idea was that each ofthem had a right to claim 
all the desires of his savage heart, and sotne one to do his biddings 
besides. His money he Squandered and gambled away, and when 
he suffered he charged it to the government, and, as that was way 
off, he hated the white people, because they were under that gov- 
ernment. This, of coui-se, was the state of mind among other 
Indians besides the Sioux. But the latter being a numerous, and 
as they thought, powerful nation, \ieie proud and testy, and 
although under such agents, as understood their ways and notions 
and at ordinary times, when payments were made punctually, 
they remained managea,ble and quiet, yet it was only because 
there was a sufficient military force among them to keep some 
order and subejction. Hence, when in 1861 the war began, and 
troops had to be called to the defence of- the nation's capital even 
from the most distant posts, and when whole regiments of men were 
enlisted and sent off, the Indians began to become restless. Emissa- 
ries from the Tebellious states or from the sympathizing British 
settlements of the NOrthwest, came among them and told therm of 
the danger of the government, of its financial embarrassments, and 
that their annuities would not be paid. The government has 
always been proverbially stupid in the selection of its Indian 
agents, and in displacing those, who did well enough in such agen- 
cies, for paWisan reasons. Hon. Joseph R. Brown, who had been 
among Indians for almost forty years; and understood their ways, 
and how to manage them, was dismissed in 1861, and one Gal- 
braith appointed in his place. The latter was a stranger, and, as 
his actions show, a sort of an erratic character, in whom the In- 
dians had no confidence. There being no military guard to subdue 
the Indians, and no confidence, but numerous causes of complaint, 
Jrue and ihiaginary, it needed but the spark to explode the whole 


powder-magazine. This was done by the outbreak commencing 
August 18th ] 862, and lasting until about October of the same 
year. None of the actions of this struggle having happened on 
our soil we may refer the curious to other sources of [information 
about it. But we cannot omit to mention the effect this outbreak 
had on the people in this neighborhood. In Minnesota every one 
was scared out of his wits, even sometimes fifty or hundred miles 
from the point of danger, and well they might be. Of course, some 
resistance was soon organized, but if one-half of the men who ran 
away, would have united in small squads, armed as they- probably 
all were, they would soon have found themselves superior in num- 
ber and equipment to those Indians, who were actually engaged in 
the work of destruction either from their own choice or by com- 
pulsion. Yet I do not want to cast any doubts upon their cour- 
age, considering that in Wisconsin, perhaps two hundred a,nd fifty 
miles from the outskirts of the depredations so many sensible per- 
sons were scared out of all powers of reasoning. : 

I was at that time mayor of the City of Buffalo in this county. 
Knowing the distance between our place and the Indians, and the 
fact that the most populous part of Minnesota lay between them 
and the Mississippi, I laughed at the idea that the war would ex- 
tend to us. But then there were a few hundred Chippewas up 
somewhere above Eau Claire, who in the imagination of sojne of 
my valiaiit fellow-citizens could be expected every moment. So 
one evening two men, both of them friends of mine, but neither of 
them fit for military service, rushed into our house, where my 
wife lay in confinement, clamoring about the supposed danger, 
scaring every one in the house, excepting myself. I did not 
attempt to allay their fears, but told them to go to— drilling their 
company, if they wanted to do so. The company was never 
formed, nor attempted to be formed, the only effect of the rude 
intrusion was a more or less serious attack of sickness of Mrs. 
Kessingetj caused by fright. 

But it was not only at Bufi^alo City that people were scared, 
for in the words of T. E. Randall in his history of the Chippewa 
Valley: *' Many other villages were equally alarmed, and just as 
prompt to defend their homes; and all that seenas wanting to make 
a bright page in our valley's history is the enemy. " . This last out- 
break of the Sioux was, among other things the cause of the 


twenty-fiftli regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry being sent 
up into Minnesota, In this regiment quite a number of young 
men from this county had enlisted, as will be seen by reference to 
the tables on Volunteer Militia. 

Before we take final leave of the Dakotas we will take a look 
into their tepees and see what sort of a life they led in them. The 
very first report we have of them asserts that they were pdlyga- 
mists, at least those among them who could afford to buy and 
support a plurality of wives. That almost unrestrained sexual in- 
tercourse and disregard of all decency chargeable to some tribes of 
the Iroquois-Huron relationship, has never been charged against 
the Sioux, but there seems to have been a feeling of jealousy dan- 
gerous to any intermeddler, and preservative of family connec- 
tions. Their government did most probably in ancient times have 
a similar organization to the one related in the " Wyandot Gov- 
ernment," and this organization was destroyed by the corrupting 
influence of the many treaties. The " Soldiers' Lodge" took its 
place, without formally superseding it. This process of disintegra- 
tion was encouraged by the government in the attempts of civiliz- 
ing the individual members of the bands nearest to the civilized 
people. Knowing that uncultured minds are greatly influenced 
by outward appearances, the government demanded the adoption 
of civilized dress, and the cutting off of the long hair, inclusive of 
the scalplock, as an outward sign of separation from the tribe and 
renunciation of its customs. This offended the Indians of the old 
style, and the blanket was made the honorary distinction of those 
who professed to be unmitigated savages. The half-breeds, of 
whom therer« was, and still is, quite a number across the river in 
our immediate neighborhood, were seldom so savage, but always 
as careless and improvident as their relations of the full blood. 
As they were in many ways cared and provide^ for by the govern- 
ment by gifts of land and money, and had the selection of the best 
land in a fertile district, each of them might be well off, if they had 
been as willing to work, as they generally were to live very econ- 
omically. The Sioux after their transportation to the Wild West, 
are no longer of much interest to us as citizens of this (county or. 
state. The last time the nation rnade itself somewhat formidable,. 
was, when " Sitting Bull " the chief of the " Ouc-pa-paws" defeated. 
Gen. Custer in the Big Horn district. 


We now turn to their ancient and constant enemies: 


Indian government, including what might be called " /oreijfn 
affairs," which in this case means simply the relations to neighbor- 
ing and related tribes, was largely based on, and probably influ- 
enced by ims/iip. On that basis we might expect to hear of an 
Algonquin confederacy, but when we reflect on the relative situation , 
of the tribes belonging to the great Algonquin relationship, we 
need not be surprised at the absence of a conlederacy based on the 
common stock of language. I am gather unwilling to admit the 
stories told of the Ojib was and much inclined to think it one of 
shallow accounts of the French, who never entered into the original 
meaning of a nation's name, but substituted one of their own, ex- 
pecting every other nation to submit to this incongruous nomen- 
clature. Their ancient prestige having departed, we take the lib- 
erty to reject the name of Sauteurs, Jumpers in English, ior the 
Ojibwas. They, or at least a tribe of their name, were first noticed 
as dwelling on the east side of the straits connecting Lake Superior 
with Lake Huron, said straits being called,, from the falls and 
rapids in the same, Sault St. Marie. This circumstance induced 
the superficial French to call them Sauteurs. Their nearest of 
kin were the the tribe of Missasaguas, though the latter name never 
became popular. They were also by language related to the Me- 
nomonees, or People of the Wild Rice, and to the Kinisteneaux, 
Kilistinaux, Cristineaux, or Oris, written Crees, who are yet exist- 
ing in Manitoba and the adjoining British possessions. It appears 
that the Menomonees, who gave their name to one of the rivers in 
the northeastern boundary of our state, were' really never a very 
strong or numerous nation, and their habitat was east of the Me- 
nom-onee River toward Little Bay de Noquet, and that at some 
time the Ojibwas began a movement toward the Gitchi Gummee, 
the Shining Big Sea Water, as it is called in Hiawatha, and, that 
they thereafter occupied the southern shores of Lake Superior. 
They were the neighbors of the Dakotas, probably of the Assini- 
boin band of them, and found reason to call them " Nadonusdcywx," 
that is enemies, a name naturally reduced to Sioux (Soo) for con- 
venience. It seems that the Kristineaux and the Assiniboins were 
also at fighting terms, and that about 1679 Capt. Daniel Greysolon 
J>u Luth negotiated the first peace between the contending p^rties,^ 

THfi INDlAKS. . U5 

who lived about the southwest corner of Lake Superior. Some 
Sioux of the southern bands found Kristineaux among the Assini- 
boins, and killed them, which exasperated the latter so much that 
they separated from the Dakota confederacy and made common 
cause with the Ojibwas and Kristineaux. There was, after the 
Indian manner, a continued state of war, the issue of which was 
the extension of the Chippewa power and the gradual forcing of 
the Sioux towards the Mississippi. At the treaty of Prairie du 
Chien in 1825 almost every one was astonished at the claims of 
Hole-in-the-day regarding the boundary line between his people 
and the Dakotas. Being questioned in regard to it, he raised him- 
self up in his full dignity and said: "We conquered it!" This 
boundary line is fully described in the history of the Dakota Con- 
federation . The Chippewas, like most other Indian tribes or na- 
tions bartered away their lands in Wisconsin to the United States, 
and but very few of them remain in Wisconsin on reservations, 
some located on the shores of the lake, others on the headwaters of 
the river, which bears their name and drains a very considerable 
part of our state. There is no evidence of their ever having held 
possession of any part of this county, but it is very probable that 
they made frequent incursions into the land claimed by the Da- 
kotas. These incursions continued even after the Sioux had sold 
their lands east of the Mississfppi to the United States which hap- 
pened in 1837. Both sides acted in perfect disregard of this treaty. 
In 1841 a party of Sioux came up to Eau Claire by invitation of 
the Chippewas to hold a friendly meeting and to smGke the pipe 
of peace. 

A still more formal meeting was held in October 1846, when 
150 braves, all mounted on ponies, came up to the Falls, and thence 
to Chippewa City and held a treaty of peace with their hereditary 
foes. Thomas E. Randall, the historian of the Chippewa Valley , 
was present on the occasion and describes it as follows: 

Among them were the great chiefs, Wabasha, Red Wing and 
Big- Thunder. Their first meeting took place at the Falls, about 
sunset, and was rather informal, owing to some misunderstanding, 
as to the place of meeting. The writer, (Mr.Randall) was present and 
heard part of the Reception Address, and subsequently learned from 
Amljrose— one of the— interpreters the subatance of, what was said on 
both gidies.;. The Sioux rem^ioed njoMted on,th9W ponie?. during 


the entire interview. The Chippewa chiefs and braves were painted 
after their mode indicating peace, and the head chief advanced 
toward their guests with a large red pipe, made of stone from Pipe- 
stone mountain, in one hand, and in the" other a hatchet, which 
was thrown with considerable force, so as to partially bury it in 
the earth; then raising the pipe to his mouth, and taking a whiflf 
or two, and, turning the stem toward the Sioux Chief, presented it 
to his acceptance. All was done in silence; the Sioux Chief re- 
ceived the pipe of peace also in silence, smoked a few whiflfs, 
bowed respectfully as he handed back the pipe, reined his pony to 
the right, and awaited the next salution. The substance of it was: 
" Friends, we are glad you have come; we are anxious to make 
peace with the Sioux nation. As you have seen us throw down 
and bury the hatchet, so we hope you are inclined to make peace." 
The Sioux Chiefs then threw down whatever arms they held, and 
declared their purpose to maintain permanent peace. They said, 
their great father, the President, with whom they had never been at 
war, had requested them to conclude a lasting peace with the Chip- 
pewa nation; and although they had sold their lands on the east- 
side of the Mississippi, they still wanted to hunt there, and were 
glad that in future they could do so without fear." — This was all 
done through interpreters, several of whom were present on each 
side, and closed every sentence they repeated with the expression: 
"That's what we say." 

The delegation met a much larger number of Chippewa Chiefs 
and braves the next day at Chippewa City, wherie the ceremonies 
were still more imposing, and a dinner was served, of which both 
parties partook. These demonstrations were so earnest, and 
seemed so sincere, that outsiders really supposed these hitherto 
mortal enemies, had become fast friends. But in the summer of 
1849 an event occurred that showed that one party to this treaty 
reposed very little confidence in the faith of the other. 

This event, which Mr. Raadall details fully, was the hanging 
of an Indian by some lawless ruffians at Chippewa Falls, for hav- 
ing wounded a Frenchman in defense of his home and honor. 
Hole-in-the-day, the Chippewa Chief, demanded the punishment 
of the parties, and they were arrested and sent to Prairie du Chien 
to jail under a guard of eight Chippewa braves, who volunteered 
for the purpose. But as the party approached that point on the 


Chip^pewa "half a day's march from the Falls;" alarm and terror 
seized the brave escorts, and nothing could induce them to go an- 
other rod, in such constant dread were they of the Sioux, who 
twenty months before had promised eternal friendship. 

This treaty is probably a fair sample of treaties made in the 
latter days between the contracting parties in question. They 
remind one forcibly of the proverb of the pot calling the kettle 
black. — It is almost impossible to locate the smaller bands of the 
Chippewas by the descriptions of the multifarious treaties between 
them and the United States, and as none of them live ; near our 
own borders, we are not specially interested in them. The nation 
has become more and more dependent upon annuities, and in the 
course of time its character has been corrupted, so that but little 
good is to be expected of them. The earlier records, however, de- 
scribe them as brave and tractable, and more reliable than some of 
their neighbors. There was from very early times a large number 
of half-breeds among them, the French vpyayeurs, coureurs de 
bois and traders having intermarried with them, as also many of 
the early settlers. Thomas E. Randall, who frorh his early settle- 
ment i-n the Chippewa Valley knew of numerous cases of such in- 
marrying, speaks in terms of praise of such of the Chippewa women, 
as had the good fortune to get decent husbands among the white 
settlers. He says they were faithful wives, tender mothers and 
careful housekeepers, remarking that if the males of the tribe 
would have shown themselves as capable of being civilized as those 
women, the problem of Indian civilization would have been easy 
to solve. He also mentions the custom of carrying about bii their 
travels wooden representations of deceased children by the mothers, 
as the reader may remember to have found a description of the 
custom of widows of this nation. 

Their burial customs were much like those of the western 
tribes in general. Scaffolds were usually the first receptacles for 
the corpses, after which inhumation may have followed if con- 
venient. A friend of mine tells me that he has seen in the pin- 
eries of the Upper Chippewa and its tributaries many burial 
lodges, small log huts, in which dead bodies were deposited. 

It seems that at the report of the Sioux outbreak of 1862> 
Pug-o-na-ke-shik, or Hole-in-the-day, (Jr.,) at that time located at 
Sandy Lake, Minnesota, some distance above St. Paul, also began 


to plunder and to kill cattle among the white settlers near Fort 
Ripley. The agent wanted to arrest the chief, but the lattfer was 
inclined to fight. 

Commissioner Dole from Washington,> then at St. Paul, ob- 
tained two companies of volunteers and advanced to Fort Ripley, 
where he held several councils with the chief, without any further 
result than dividing the Indians, and thus diminishing the 
strength of Hole-in-the-day. 

The chief, seeing that his support had melted away, restored 
his plunder and delivered up his war-club; as a token of peace. 
He even bflfered Gen. Pope the whole force of his tribe against the 
Sioux, -but the offer was not accepted. It has always been a 
policy of insufficient measures, what the government did in such 
cases, more calculated for the profit of interested parties, than the 
benefit of the people at large. This refusal to employ Indiians 
against Indians, when every man detained in Minnesota was 
needed at the front against the rebellion, is a striking instance of 
conscientious scruples not much in harmony with com- 
mon sense. The government not always did, nor could 
it do, what its agents found politic to promise to the Indians in 
concluding a treaty; but who was to blame for that? Certainly 
not those who suffered from Indian outbreaks, and that the one of 
the Sioux was the fault of the government can hardly be denied, 
inasmuch as it had withdrawn all the safeguards against its occur- 
rence. But why should not the merciless Sioux be punished to 
the full extent? And the gratification of the ancient grudge of 
the Chippewas against them could have been the only adequate 
means for punishing the treacherous nation, and to teach them the 
lesson they needed so much. But an annihilated tribe would no 
longer need an agency, and the party, expecting to be in it soon 
again, would lose ah opportunity to place a number of adherents 
into comparatively lucrative positions, and to retain them in their 
ranks for partisan services in the expectation of that remunera- 
tion. ' 



The earliest discoveries in the Mississippi Valley had no rela- 
tion to the northern parts of it. As far as they formed a basis for 
claims made by European powers to the ownership or possession 
of the great river, they must be considered in the chapter oa 
" Political History." 

Later discoveries directly in and about our own part of the 
valley must be related in this and every similar history. To do 
this I consider the best plan to be the biographical one, since these 
discoveries were the direct result of individual explorations, not- 
withstanding the fact, that they were carried on by order, or under 
the protection, of the French Government, at that time represented 
by the governor of Canada. The biographies of Nicolet, Mar- 
quette and Joliet, Hennepin, Du Luth, Perrot and Le Sueur and 
Capt. Carver, will give the history of the explorations, and at the 
same time satisfy a laudable curiosity in regard to the further life 
of tbege mm, 


This man, to whom unquestionably belongs the honor of hav- 
ing been the first white man who set foot upon the soil of Wiscon- 
sin, and penetrated to the very center of it, was born in Cherbomg, 
in the province of Normandy of the kingdom of France, and came 
to Quebec in the year 1618. Samuel Champlain, the founder and 
governor of New France, with his profound insight into affairs, and 
likewise into human nature, had as early as 1615 sent some young 
^Frenchmen of his colony among the surrounding Indian tribes or 
nations, to stay with' them, fo learn their language, acquire and 
:adopt their mode of life, or, as we now would say, to study them 
thoroughly, at the same time to lea:rn also all that could be found 
out about the country, the land and water, and the ways and 
means of traveling, and of trading in the places they visited, and 
for the time inhabited. Nicolet was added to the number of these 
young men and the station assigned to him was with the Algon- 
^uins on Allumette Island in the Ottawa Riye?, These islands, 


for there seem to have been two, were situated about halfways be- 
tween the St. Lawrence River, and Lake Nipissing, which, how- 
ever, has no connection with Ottawa River, but was then reached 
by going up a tributary and making a portage between it and the 
lake. The Algonquins of the Isles were an important nation, for 
they commanded the passage between the upper lakes and the St. 
Lawrence, which on account of being much, shorter, and not ex- 
posed to the incursions of the Iroquois, must be kept open at all 
hazards, and it was of vital interest to the young French colony to 
keep cm good terms with them. Nicolet remained with them for 
two years. He acquired great influence among them, as ma;y be 
judged from the fact that he went with four hundred of these sav- 
ages upon a mission of peace to the Iroquois and the mission was 
successful, he returning in safety. Afterward he took up his resi- 
dence among the Nipissings, who adopted him into their nation, 
and among whom he remained eight or nin^ years. The notes or 
memoirs written by him were afterwards presented to one of the 
missionaries, (Jesuits) who undoubtedly made good use of it for 
the- order. It is immaterial for our purpose, whether he visited 
Quebec during his long residence among the Nipissings, but he was 
•not at that place, when in 1629 the English took possession of it, 
and occupied it until 1632. It appears, however, that in the sum- 
mer of 1632, when the French resumed possession, Nicolet came 
down to Trois Rivieres, then the camping place of the nations from 
the upper country at their annual trading voyage. There was not 
any town or even fort at the place then. He remained on the St. 
Lawrence as a clerk and interpreter in the service of the Hundred 
Associates or of Governor Champlain. The governor having in the 
course of time, and partly during his military excursion against 
the Iroquois, learned many things of countries, lakes and nations, 
beyond the limits of the country so far explored by missionaries 
and others, and among other things he had heard of the nation of 
the Winnebagoes. He determined to extend the influence of his 
power to this distant nation, of whose whereabouts he had no de- 
finite ideaSj but who sometimes carried on war against nations of 
his acquaintance. For this purpose he selected, and as the event 
proved very judiciously, his protege Jean Nicolet, Nicolet accor- 
dingly went up the Ottawa River to the Algonquins, thence to his 
nation of Nipissings and from these to the Hurons whose station 

EAfeLY E^gfLOJlATlONg. 171 

was then at the south end of the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. 
He was specially accredited to this nation by the governor, and 
was to take some of them as companions of his intended voyage 
beyond 'the confines of the lake which bears their name. He set 
out from their nation accompanied by seven of its warriors in 
canoes and after a voyage of about four hundred miles reached the 
St. Mary's River, the outlet of Lake Superior. There the voyagers 
rested for some time, and ascended the river to the vicinity of the 
Falls. Descendiog by the Western Detour channel they coasted 
along the northern shores of Lake Michigan and after entering 
Green Bay came to the Menomenees dh the river still bearing that 
name. From' these they proceeded further up the bay and Nicolet 
dispatched one of his Hurons in advance to announce his approach 
and the purpose of his visit. The Winnebagdes received his mes- 
senger well and sent some of their young men to meet and to assist 
him. They escorted him and carried his baggage. He was clothed 
in a large garment of Chinese damask, sprinkled with flowers and 
birds of different colors, which he had brought with him all the 
way from'Quebec. Whether it was because he anticipated to nieet 
Chinamen or Tartars, as some writers seem to suppose, or whethigr 
he had learned among the Indians that anything extraordinary in 
appearance was sure to produce a profound and faTOrable impres- 
sion, I will not decide. It might be wrong to ascribe this surpris- 
ing attire to the inborn vanity of the young Frenchman, but not 
entirely improbable. As he neared the land he discharged with 
each hand a pistol and it is no wonder that women and children 
fled affrighted. 

But he had accomplished his jourhey, and he and his Hurons 
rested among the Winnebagoes, who were located around the head 
of Green Bay, Contiguous to the point where it receives the waters 
of Fox River.. He found the Winnebagoes a numerous and 
bcdentary people, whose language was radically different from the 
language of any of the Algonquin nations, as well as from that of 
the Hurons. He considered them to be of Dakota stock, substi- 
tuting what he had heard for wha't he knew. There were the 
feastings, ceremonies and speeches unavoidable among Indians on 
such occasions, and Nicolet, being perfectly "au fait" on sneh 
Aattets, saw, an* diligently and successfully iinproved,' the: 
ebances offered for th'6 accomplishment of hie purpose. The Win- 


nebagoes agreed to keep the peace with the Hurons, the Nez 
Perces of the Lakes and probably some other tribes. They were, 
of course, instructed in the advantages to be derived from com- 
mercial intercourse with the young colony, of which they deceived 
the firit instalment in the shape of presents distributed by the am- 
bassador. But this was not sufficient for Nicolet's ambition. He 
ascended Fox River to Lake Winnebago, and thence entered the 
river again above the lake and proceeded to the Mascoutins, a na- 
tion which had become known to the French by having 1615 been 
in war with the nations of the Neutrals and Ottawas in Canada. 
Among the Mascoutins he heard of the Wisconsin River, but the 
accounts given him of this tributary of the Mississippi seem -to 
have been very confused. His report on bis return to Canada, is 
claimed to have been that he was within three days journey to the 
Great Sea, of which even then, one hundred a,nd forty years after 
the discovery of America, no nation seems to have had any precise 
knowledge. That he did not believe any such thing may be in- 
ferred from the fact that he did not proceed any further in that 
direction, which he certainly would have done, had he believed 
what he is said to have reported, since a journey of three days 
only, seems a trifle compared with what he had already accom- 
plished. .But prudence forbade the embassador of the governor, 
what the ambition and the audacity of the explorer might have at- 
tempted. He had done his work and had done it well, but to 
secure its results he had to return, to acquaint the nations on his 
way of the peace concluded, and to report to the governor. This he 
did. In the spring of 1635 he departed with his seven dusky com- 
panions from the Winnebagoes, reversing the course he had steered 
before, came up to Mackinaw and along the south shores of Mani- 
toulin Island to the Ottawas who had made their home thereon, 
from which place he proceeded to the Hurons, to which tribe or 
nation his companions belonged. He returned to Quebec by way 
of French River, Lake Nipissing and the Ottawa River, journeying 
in the lower end of his return voyage with the savages upon their 
annual trading voyage to the 'French settlements. 

There were some disputes in regard to the time of Nicolet's 
mission, and most books, (schoolbooks especially), e^ that it hap- 
pened in 1639, but there are abundant proofs th9,t lie went out, in 
1634 and returned in 1635, having been absent about ten months 


or perhaps one year. These proofs have too remote a bearing upon 
the subject of this present work, but they can be found most dis- 
tinctly exposed and stated in the VFork of Prof. C. W. Butterfield, 
of Madison, Wis., entitled "History of the Discovery of the North- 
west by .John Nicolet in 1634, with a Sketch of his Life." I ack- 
nowledge my indebtedness to this work for the above sketch of 
Kicolet's performances upon Wisconsin soil, and. his journey to it 
and return. A few passages I have copied in the course of the 
narrative. The reader may reasonably be curious about the fur- 
ther fortunes of the bold adventurer. He returned to his old posi- 
tion of clerk and interpreter and was married in October 1637 at 
Quebec to Marguerite Couillard, a god-child of Champlain. He 
resided at Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers) where his only child, a 
daughter, was born. In 1642 he was called to Quebec to take the 
place of his brother-in-law Mons. Olivier le Tardiff, who was Gen- 
eral Commissary (Chief Clerk), of the Hundred Partners, and who 
sailed for France on the seventh day of October of that year. 
Nicolet was drowned on the 27th of the same month below Sillery 
in the St. Lawrence River. He accompanied Mons. de Savigny 
from Quebec to Trois Rivieres for the purpose of rescuing a pri- 
soner taken by a band of Algonquins, who were slowly torturing 
him. Near Sillery a squall upset the boat and Nicolet and three 
others, unable to swim, sank after, having clung to the boat for 
some time. They were near shore, but the pitchy darkness pre- 
vented their knowing it. Mons. de Savigny being an expert swim- 
mer saved his life. Nicolet's. death under the circumstances may 
be considered a heroic end of a heroic life, but his loss was deeply ■ 
felt and lamented not alone by his countrymen, but as much, and 
perhaps more, by the Indians of the neighborhood. 

We know of two of his brothers, Pierre, a navigator, and Gil- 
les, a priest of the secular ordination, that is, belonging to no reg- 
ular order of ecclesiastics. Pierre returned to France some time 
after Nicolet's death; Gilles Nicolet, the priest, returned to the 
same country in 1647. 

His daring expedition to Green Bay had opened the road for 
the fur-trader, the voyageur and the missionary to the Far West, 
and even before his death, in 1641, the Jesuit fathers received an 
iijyitation to occupy the country ''.around a rapid, in the njidst of 
the channel by which Lake Superior empties into Lake Huron," 

174 EARLY E^iPLOftAflONg. 

I conclude with the words of Prof. Butterfield: History can" 
not refrain from saluting Nicolet as a disinterested traveler, who,' 
by his explorations in the interior of America, has given clear 
proofs of his energetic character, and whose merits have not been 
disputed, although they were temporarily forgotten." 


We have seen in the history of Nicolet that even under the 
first governor of New France, the renowned Champlain, there was 
a strong desire to explore the" country west of the Great Lakes 
and more especially the great river of the Far West, of which at 
the time the name- even was unknown. The discoverers of those 
latter times seem to have labored under the same delusions which 
had possessed the mind of Columbus, and to have expected at 
every considerable step westward to meet the people described by 
Marco Polo, Rubriqui and other travelers of past centuries, the 
Tartars and the Chinese. Every river of which they received any 
information was sure to flow into the South Sea, the mysterious 
ocean of which they knew that it was on the eastside of Asia, but 
of whose situation and extent they had but vague notions. As 
earlj as 1670 La Salle had traveled in that direction and had dis- 
covered the Ohio and the Illinois. The intendant of the colony 
under Governor Courcelles, whose name was Talon, had in 1669 
sent out two parties, one furnished by the Jesuit Seminary of 
Quebec, the other by La Salle. They did not proceed by the 
usual route already described, that is by the Ottawa River, but 
ascended the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, from which they went 
to the Seneca village. Owing to diiEferent adverse circumstances 
they could get no guide to the Ohio, and were in danger of being 
killed. They left for an Iroquois colony at the head of Lake 
Ontario, which they reached on the twenty-fourth of September 
and -there La Salle received the present of a Shawano prisoner; 
who told them, that the Ohio could be reached in six weeksi 
They were aibout setting out when they met with Louis Joliet, 
who by the orders of Talon had been up at Lake Superior to dis^ 
cover and explore the copper-mines. He had failed in the at- 
tempt and was now returning. He showed the priests a map of 
such parts of the Upper Lakes as he had visited and gave them a 
copy of. it. By this and by other repi-esehtatiorls he induced the 
Seminary party to change their plan, and La Salle protested in 


vaiii against the prosed change., He^wauted to go to the Ohio, but 
not to the northern lakes. He pleaded an attack of fever and 
staid, when they left. Instead of returning to Montreal, he went 
to the Ohio, but for two years afterward there is nothing definite 
known of him. The priests, who were of the order of Sulpitians, 
returned to Montreal the following year, having effected nothing. 
In the mean time Talon was superseded, not however before a new 
governor had taken the place of Courcelle. This new governor 
was Frontenac. He approved of Talon's plan, and appointed 
Louis Joliet as the leader of the expedition at Talon's recom- 
mendation. Joliet had studied with the Jesuits of Quebec for 
the priesthood, and, though he had renounced it, he still was par- 
tial to the order, and one of its members, Jacques Marquette, was 
to accompany him. He was then stationed at Point St. Ignacs on 
the north side of the strait of Mackinaw, wherE Joliet found him 
in the month of May 1672. The outfit of the travelers was ac- 
cording to the mode of travel then exclusively used in the western 
wilderness. They- procured two birch canoes and a supply of 
smoked meat and Indian corn, embarked with five men, and be- 
gan their voyage on the seventeenth ^of May. They had made a 
species of map of their intended route by means of the informa- 
tion obtained from the Indians about it. They passed the straits 
of Mackinaw and coasted along the northern shores of Lake 
Michigan, landing at evening and building their camp-fire at the 
edge of the forest, drawing up their canoes on the strand. They 
visited the Menomonees some distance up the river still bearing 
that name. These Indians tried to dissuade the travelers by tel- 
ling them of the ferocious tribes inhabiting the region to which 
they meant to go, and of other dangers awaiting them there. But 
Marquette ridiculed their fears. The travelers next reached the 
mission of Green Bay, ascended Fox River, crossed Lak« Winne- 
bago, entered the upper part of the river and on the seventh of 
June reached the Mascoutins and Miamis, who since the visit of 
Dablon and Allouez had been joined by the Kickapoos. Mar- 
quette was delighted with the country, but much more with the 
sight of a cross planted in the midst of the town. A council was 
called and Joliet informed the assembly of his commission of dis- 
covery by the governor of Canada and Marquette's from God to 
teach them the true faith. He prayed for guided to show them 


the way to the waters of the Wisconsin. The guides were readily 
furnished and on the tenth the Frenchmen embarked again with 
two Indians to conduct them. .All the town assembled to witness 
their departure and to marvel at their daring to undertake an en- 
terprise so hazardous. The river twisted among lakes and marshes 
choked with wild rice, and they had great need of their guides. 
Finally they reached the portage. After carrying their canoes a 
mile and a half over prairie and inarsh they launched them on the 
Wisconsin, and, bidding farewell to the waters that flowed to the 
St. Lawrence, committed thomselves to those that were to bear 
them they knew not whither, perhaps to the Gulf of Mexico, per- 
haps to the South sea, or the Gulf of California. 

The season of high water for the Wisconsin River was past, 
and this voyage was quiet and regular. Finally they came to the 
point where the meadow stretched away indefinably between bluffs, 
near the place where now stands, and where perhaps even then 
Stood the first rudimentary beginnings of the city of Prairie du 
Chien. They knew nothing of it, and could not perceive it, and 
with the singular directness which characterizes this remarkable 
expedition, they passed on -until their canoes shot out upon the 
whirling eddies of the confluence of the Wisconsin and the Missis- 
sippi. They do not appear to have entertained any desire to ascend 
the large river, perhaps they had no instructions to that effect, at any 
rate they began to descend. Game and fish abounded and Joliet's 
experience as a woods-man manifested itself in the precautions 
observed with regard to the night-camps. They landed in the 
evening built a fire, cooked and ate their supper and then de- 
scended some leagues further, anchoring in the stream and having 
one man keeping guard during the night. Nobody was met, un- 
til one day they discovered foot-prints and landed. Marquette and 
Joliet went along a track which finally brought them to a vilkge 
of the Illinois Indians, in what is now either Missouri or Iowa, on 
the west bank of the river, some distance from it. This commu- 
nity dwelt in surprising security, and the travellers had to shout 
to make their presence known. They were well received, and as 
the Illinois were of the Algonquin stock, Marquette, and most prob- 
ably Joliet also, was able to converse with them, and they were 
most honorably entertained according to the fashion of the peopled 
It would be tedious to describe the proceedings, but after some 

Early EXPtORATtONs. 177 

days the- travelers bade farewell to these^friendly Indians, of whom 
alftiost the entire tribe had followed them to the rivfer. After a 
while they passed the mouth of the Illinois River and soob aftei? the 
rocks worn by the changes of tempeiattfre and' weather into what 
seemed to be Ruined Castles, by Which name they were designated 
by Marquette on his map and on matty maps after him. The 
place is between Graftto and Alton 'in ' Illinois. Before they 
reached the site of the latter city, and before the rocks ■began' to 
depart from the river in a southeastern' direction they met, what 
seemed to them pictures of his Satanic ']\ia]6sty, though in them- 
selves these pictures were inoffensive eiioUgh, as pictures usually 
happen to be. It was not very long afterward that' the pictures 
were almost bffaced, arid as the copies made by Marquette were 
lost, and he was accused of exaggeration 'by subsequent travelers 
of his own cloth, it is not material what the pictures Were.' A few 
miles further south the travelers met somethirig more substantially 
alarming, the muddy and turbulent ' Waters of the- Missouri, carry- 
ing trees and stumps along, and mixing with the clear and placid 
waters of the river on Whichthey had come down so far. 'Soon after 
they passed the 'shelving bights on' which the city of St. Louia is 
now located, probably then covered'With a dense forest. As ithey 
proceeded, the heat'became more intensive, and after they had pas- 
sed the mouth of the Ohio the temperature became almost unen- 
durable. Innumerable swarms of mosquitoes torinented them 
by day' and night, and there wa:s little rest for any of the travelers. 
They had been led to believe from wh'at they had learned of the 
Illinois Indians, that' they were niuch nearer to the mouth of the 
river than they really were and expected to 'see the gdlf very soon. 
Near the rriouth of the Arkansas "River they met the next Indians 
and Were at first threatened, but soon safe. These people belonged 
to the Akanseas, Which some have considered, as a bl-anch of the 
Illinois 'Algonquins. The fact that Marquette had to make use of 
,a stranger who happened to be present, and who understood some 
Illinois, puts this assutriptioh into a doubtful position. In the 
■Secohd town of the same' nation the conversation d-epended on the 
:same conditions, and asjthe interpreter was more competent it was 
more animated, but the necessity of the interpreter is expressly 
mentioned. From theSe Indians the travelers learned that it was 
riJafigerotis to proceed any further. Though similar 'w?.X9Jngs had 


once or twice been given before without intimidating them or 
stopping their progress, they now concluded to return. They had 
learned that some of the Indians in the lower country were trading 
with the Spaniards, or with tribes who had received guns and 
horses from that nation, and they were naturally afraid of losing 
the fruits of their arduous labors by being either killed by the 
■savages, or made prisoners by the Spaniards. Accordingly they 
commenced to ascend f,hei river on their return voyage on the 
seventeenth of July, just about one month after having begun 
to descend it. They had established one fact to their own satis- 
faction, that is, that the Mississippi did not discharge its waters 
into the Atlantic or Virginia Sea, nor into the Gulf of California or 
the Vermillion Sea, but into the Gulf of Mexico. Their np ward 
•voyage was slow and tedious, and Marquette expecially was almost 
exhausted by the climate and an attack of dysentery. At length 
they reached the Illinois, where the current was less rapid and the 
country in every respect more pleasant, especially as the hottest 
part of the summer was almost past. , They stopped at a town of 
the Illinois Indians which Marquette calls Kaskaskia, a name 
afterwards transfered to another locality. Here they were offered 
guidance and probably further assistance, enabling them to reach 
Lake Illinois, now Lake Michigan. They went to the lake, and, 
coasting along reached Green Bay at the end of September,. hav- 
ing paddled their canoes more than two thousand five hundred 
miles in about four months. Marquette was obliged to remain on 
account of his feeble health,- but Joliet went to Quebec, to report 
the result of his" expedition to Count Frontenac. After having 
been favored with more than common good luck during all his 
voyage he was nearly drowned in the St. Lawrence River at the 
rapids, of La Chine whereby two of his men and a boy were lost, 
and also all of his papers. It seems, however, that Marquette 
made also maps and reports probably incorporating both in the 
"iZeZaiions," which according to the rule of his orders he had to 
make at stated times to his superiors. After some consideration 
I have come to think it a little suspicious, that Joliet met with his 
accident and lost his papers, never attempting any restoration of 
them, though as a surveyor probably quite competent to do so, 
while Marquette, who had the reputation of a linguist and .a 
preacher, on this occasion turns up as a cartographer, and repprter 


of what in part he could hardly have very closely observed on ac- 
count of his malady. There were secret causes, which made it de- 
sirable that Count Frontenac should not learn too much of the . 
western country, and Joliet was almost. as much under the control 
of those who might have acted according, to the circumstances in- 
dicated, as Marquette or any other member of the order. This fin- 
ishes the story of the exploration of the Mississippi between :the 
mouth of the Wisconsin and that of the Arkansias. It will how- 
ever be desirable for moat readers, to learn a little more of the 
lives of the two persons who had carried this hazardous undertak- 
ing to such a successful end. 

Louis- Joliet 
was the son of a wagon-maker in the service of the Company of 
the Hundred. Associates then owners of Canada. He was born at 
Quebec in 1645 and educated by the Jesuits. When still very 
young, he resolved to be a priest, and received the minor ordina- 
tions at the age of seventeen. Four years later he distinguished 
himself at what seems to have been a public examination. Soon 
after he renounced his clerical vocation and turned fur-trader, He 
remained a protege of the Jesuits, and paid for their preference in , 

There was nothing extraordinary about the man, but he filled 
his place as a fur-trader, a merchant in general, well, and it must be 
admitted that the expedition undertaken and carried out with 
Marquette was very prudently managed, andj with the exeeptioo 
of the capsizing of his canoe, remarkably successful. , In October 
1675 Joliet married Claire Bisset. His fatherrin-law traded with 
the northern Indians and Joliet made a journey to Hudson's Bay 
in 1677, where he found three.English forts,, also an armed vessel of 
twelve guns, and several smaller trading crafts. On his return to : 
Quebec he sounded the alarm on account of his observations, and 
a company was formed to compete in the northern trade with the 
English. During the year of this journey Joliet received the grant 
of the islands of Mignon and in 1680 that of the large island of 
Anticosti in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 1681 he was established 
here with his wife and six servants. He was engaged in fisheries 
and made a chart of the St. Lawrence. In lYDQ his wife ; and ; 
mother-in-law were taken prisoner and his establishment burnt by 
an English, fleet under Sir Wm. Phipps. In 1694 Joliet explored 


, : III. ■i ^i-r-riTT-H- i - 

the coast of Labrador in the employ of a company formed; for 
whale arid seal fishery. He was made royal pilot of the. St. Law- 
rence and hydrographer of Quebec. It is supposed that he died 
poor in 1699 or 1700 and was buried on one of the Mignon 
islands, which lie north of Anticosti near the mainland. - 

Like those of Nicolet, so were Joliet's services forgotten, and 
his fame partially eclipsed by that of his companion, and some- 
what tainted by his subserviency to the Jesuit factions, which in- 
volved _ ungratefulness to Count Frontenac. The labors of Shea 
in this country and Margry in France have rescued his fame from 

Father Jaques Marquette, S. J. 

Marquette was born in 1637 of an old and honorable family at 
Laon in the north of France. He joined the Jesuits at the age of 
seventeen, his motives being purely religious. In 1666 he was sent 
to the mission of Canada, where his first station was at Tadousac 
on the Lower St. Lawrence, where he studied the Montagnais 
language, a-branch of the Algonquin. In 1668 he was sent to the 
Upper Lakes, where he remained until his voyage with Joliet. He 
was for some time at Esprit the station of Allouez at the Apostle 
Islands, afterwards at Green Bay, then again at Point St. Ignaoe, ' 
from which he started, but to which he never returned. We have 
seen that at the termination- of the. voyage of discovery he stayed, 
or had to stay, at Green Bay, where his malady still continued to 
trouble him. Until about a year after his return, he felt himself well 
enough, and was permitted by his superiors, to return .to the Illi-. 
nois river and nation. During his stay at Green Bay he must have 
written his report of the expedition and made those maps, which, 
were afterwards published as his. He himself never published 
anything, and if in the report published as his there was anything- ' 
calculated to throw hib companion into theshade, we may excul- 
pate himself entirely. On the twentyfifth I of October Marquette 
set out with two Frenchmen, named Pierre and Jaques, one of 
whom had been with him on his great journey of discovecy, and a. 
smaU band of Pottawatamies and one similar one of Illinois. In^, 
diansi They followed the east shore of Green Bay, made the por- 
tage at Sturgeoh Gove, now Sturgeon Bay, to the lake and thence 
proceeded southwards. The ]a<ke was stormy and they consucted 
more than a month in coasting along the western shore. Thej. 


reached Chicago River and ascended it, about tw;o leagues. His 
maladi' had returned, and it wa,s impossible to proceed a,ny fur- 
ther. The two m^n built a log hut by the river, and there, the; win- 
ter was spent. There was no, scarcity of provisions, such as the 
country and the season afforded, nor were the, three companions 
without neighhors. Although, these were not very close, one, being 
an encampment of IlUnoie, distant two days travel, the other one 
of" coureurs des bois,'' those freeboqtej-S: of the fUjr-trade, who in 
spite, of proscription and persecution flourished to the great annoy- 
ance of the intenda,nt, or financial, agent of the crown in the colony. 
One can not help being pleased with the behavior of the 
Indians and of the Coureurs des, Boi'5 towards Marquette apd his 
meq. Both parties not only visited them, bji,t assisted them 
in its own manner, to the best of their powgr. The rest and shel- 
ter afforded by winter quarters had produced an, abatement of, 
Marquette's disease, and on the thirtieth day of March they left their 
hut, carried their canoe ^nd their baggage tq the head of Dee 
Plaines River, a tributary to the Illinois, upon which they then 
descended to the Indian town, which Marquette calls Kaskaskia. 
«Here they were well received, and Marquette worked diligently in 
the line of strictly missionary labors. After he thought the minds 
of the Indian i prepared, he called them to a council, "which was 
attended by five hundred chiefs and old men,, fifteen hundred 
youths and warriors, and all the women and children of thetribe. He 
preached to them and found willing hearers, who begged him to 
stay ampng thern. This he could or would not do, for he felt that 
his life was fast ebbing away and he wanted to die under the con- 
solations of his religion. A fews days after Easter a crowd of 
Indians escorted hiih to Lake Michigan. Here he embarked with 
his two companions for Mackinaw, and followed the eastern shore 
being the shortest route and involving ho long crossing. As his 
men were urging along their canoe, Marquette' was lying with 
dimmed sight and prostrated strength communing with the Virgin 
and; the angels. 'On the nineteenth of May, he felt that his hour 
wasnear, and,- as .they passed the raotith of a small river, he re- 
quested his companions to land. They coimplmd, built a shed of 
bayjg; on a, rising ground, and carried thither the dying Jesuit. 
Perfectly resignfid to, and glorying in his fate of having heea 
allowed to die a minister of the Faith, audi a member of 


the brotherhood of Jesuits, he gave directions about his burial and 
sent his companions to sleep, until he would call them. Two or 
three hours after they heard his feeble cry, and, hastening to his 
side, they found him at the point of death. He expired calmly- 
murmuring the names of Jesias and Marj'; with his eyes fixed on 
the crucifix which' one of his followers held before him. They 
buried him according to his directions; and then set off for Macki- 
naw to bear the tidings to his brethren at the mission of St. Ignace. 
In the winter of 1666 a party of Kiskakon Ottawas were hunting 
on Lake Michigan and in the spring on their return, under the 
observance of the customs of their people in such cases, took up 
Marquette's bones and bore them, in a procession of thirty canoes, 
to St. Ignace of Micbillimackinac (Mackinaw.) As they ap- 
proached, priests, Indians and traders, all thronged to the shore. 
The relics of Marquette were received with solemn ceremony, and 
buried berieath the floor of the little chapel of the mission. The 
river where he died is a small strearii in the west of Michigan, 
some distance south of the promontory called the "Sleeping Bear." 
It must ' be confessed without hesitation, that his actions in all 
that is known of him, were singularly disintsrested, and if, as he 
must have known from the beginning, he was simply an instrument 
in the hands of his superiors, for the glory and the benefit of his 
order, his' personal character was eminently free from personal 
ambition and the almost fanatical zeal of some of his contempo- 
rary confreres. Being a superior scholar and especially an accom- 
plished linguist he might reasonably hope for the highest, distinc- 
tions his order could confer on any of its members, but this ambi- 
tion seems never to have influenced his actions. Tradition has 
long since enveloped the events of his last voyage into a veil of 
obscurity, but it is remarkable that his fame attained a marked, 
preponderance over that of his companion, and that for a long 
time he was considered, if not declared, the commanding spirit of 
the enterprise, while in fact Joliet held both the commission for 
and the command of it. To. me it is as clear as noon-day, that its 
success was owing to the decision and perseverance of Joliet, who 
had no inclination to be detained by any excuses af the necessity 
of converting the nations visited, and who knew that delays are the 
most dangerous- foes to any such enterprise. 



The sul?ject of this sketch, probably the first man who wrote 
a book, which related, at least in part, to those regions on the Mis- 
sissippi that were left unexplored by Marquette and Joliet, was 
by his vocation a missionary. He was not. a Jesuit, nor did he 
ever like or praise that order; he was a Recollect, a bare-footed 
Franciscan of the gray habit. He was not a Frenchman by na- 
tionality, and among Frenchmen was called a Flamand, or in 
English, Fleming, which means a native of Flanders. • I can find 
no authentic statement which gives his birthplace, and it is im- 
possible to decide, whether he was not actually born under the 
scepter of Louis XIV, since during the reign of this monarch some 
parts of Flanders may have been, either permanently or. tempo- 
rarily, annexed to France. Nor is this point incontroyertibly de- 
cided by his admission into Canada, where only Frenchmen and 
Roman Catholics were to be admitted, since the fact of having 
been in a French monastery may have been considered equivalent 
to naturalization. It is certain that he spoke Dutch, for he says 
that himself, and that he died in Holland, and it may be re- 
marked that his mother-tongue may have been the Flemish, which 
is not a dialect but a near relation of the Dutch. ' Hennepin, had 
been in a convent in the province of Artois, between Flanders and 
Picardy in the north-eastern part of the kingdom, and being sent 
by his superior to Calais to solicit alms, as was the custom of his 
order, he fell into the company of sailors, who, being on shore 
were to be found in taverns, and indulged largely in their habit of 
telling yarns, to the great edification of the, friar, who, according 
to his own n'arrative, sometimes even hid for hours behind tavern 
doors, in order to listen unobserved. His credulity seems to have 
been equal to his curi^sity, and the adventures he heard related 
at Calais, and at Dunkirk stirred up his disposition, which seems 
to have been naturally of a restless complexion. He set out on a 
roving mission through Holland, probably only the Catholic parts 
of the Netherlands and he recounts various mishaps whiqh befell 
him " in consequence of my zeal in laboring for the salvation of 
souls." Having returned to his convent he got leave from his 
•superiors to go to their missions in Canada. He sailed in the same 
ship with La Salle and by his meddlesomeness incurred the cen- 
sure of the latter, against whom he took a spite, which, though 


sometimes dissembled, often came to the surface, and which was 
gratified, after La Salle's death, in the second edition of Henne- 
pin's book, 1697! On arriving in Canada he was seht up to 
Frontenac, La Salle's fort on Lake Ontario. This afforded a most 
convenient opportunity for the study of Indian languages, especi- 
ally Algonquin and Iroquois, a colony of the latter being situated 
under the protection of the fort. His restless disposition mani- 
fested itself in his many excursions both by canoe in' the summer, 
atid on snow-shbes in the winter. Of these excursions one is re- 
markable for its extent, as during the same he' visited the Onon- 
dagas, the Oneidas and the MohaWks, three of the Iroquois na- 
tions, and met three Dutchmen from New' York colony, who in- 
vited him to visit the settlement of Orange, now Albany, which, 
however, he declined. They were pleased with him, he says, be- 
cause he spoke Dutch. On the eighteenth of November, 1678, he 
went with La Motte, an officer of La Salle's, and twenty -three men 
to the mouth of the Niagara River, where La Salle intended to 
-build a fortifiied p^ost and storehouse. This was the expedition 
which resulted during the same winter in the building of' the 
schooner Griffin, the first vessel that ever sailed 6n the Upper 
Lakes, and in the following summer or autumn brought La Salle 
and his party to Green Bay . The description and enumersttion of 
the disappointments, dangers, labors and adventures of La Salle 
and his followers, or companions, among them three Recollect 
fathers or friars, of which Hennepin was one, is not a part of this 
friar's history, as far as it belongs to the discovery of the Upper 
Mississippi, although related by him at length. After great hard- 
ships the party reached the mouth of the St. Joseph's River in 
what is now'Michigan where they were joined by Tonty and such 
of his men as had not deserted. A fort "had been built there 
called Hiamis, probably after the Indians of the neighborhood. 
From this fort the party set out during the winter, made the por- 
tage to the Kankakee River, which may be considered as one of 
the headwaters of the Illinois, which they reached a few days before 
New Years Day 1680. Pour days after the celebration of that day 
they reached Peoria Lake, then called Pimitoui. The next day 
they reached the town of the Illinois. Their adventures there,' 
and their construction of the fort called Crevecoeur, are interesting 
to. a degree, but space is wanting for the relation of them in this 


place. So far Hennepin had acted no very prominent part, except 
perhaps by frequently attending to what was none of his business. 
He had abundant time for the purpose, since beside his occasional 
preaching, which could and would sometimes be done by the 
two other friars, there certainly was nothing that he could do, or 
could be expected of him. La Salle had tarried so long on the 
shores of the lake to receive tidings of the Griffin, which had been 
sent to the fort at the entrance to Niagara River with furs and 
hides and was to bring material, rigging and anchors for a vessel 
to be built on the Illinois River, to be used in the descent of the 
Mississippi and final departure from the mouth of the river to 
the French possession in the West Indies. The Griffin was never 
heard of again. Her loss finally compelled La Salle to return to 
Canada by way of marching through the wilderness as chances 
might offer, to Lake Erie, thence by canoe to Niagara and finally 
to Frontenac. 

This voyage had however nothing to do with the subject of 
this sketch, except that La Salle before his departure for Canada 
sent Micheal Accau, and Antdirie Anguel nicknamed Du Gay or 
Picard, because he was from Picardy to explore the Illinois River 
to its mouth and also to explore the Mississippi. It may be sup- 
posed that La SaUe and Tonty knew of the voyage made nearly 
seven years before by Marquette and Joliet, but exactly how much 
is not stated. The purpose of the expedition despatched by La 
Salle seems to have been an exploration of the Upper Mississippi 
though instructions can not have been very definite. This expe- 
dition Hennepin was requested to join. After its return he wrote 
its history and arrogated to himself all the credit it deserved, and 
in subsequent editions of his narrative much more than was due to 
its actual achievements. But when requested to join it, he was 
■not very willing. He wanted the younger one of his two confreres, 
2enobe Membre to go in his place, but the latter refused; to send 
Hibourde, then sixty-four years old, was out of the question. So 
Hennepin made a virtue of necessity and on the last day of Feb- 
ruary the expedition started, well provided with arms and ammu- 
nition and with such goods as might be suitable for trading, and 
•making presents to Indians on their route. Hennepin, with his 
usual modesty, says: "Anybody but me would have been very 
.much frightened at the dangers of such a journey; and in fact. If 


I had not placed all my trust in God, I should not have been the 
dupe of theSieur de la Salle, who exposed my life rashly." It is 
most probable that La Salle, who had determined to leave Tonty 
in command at Crevecoeur, while he himself had to go to Canada, 
took the precaution ' to send the officious monk out of Tonty 's way. 
The canoe of the three travelers, heavily laden as it was, de- 
scended to the mouth Of the Illinois, about two hundred and fifty 
miles. As they had to hunt, and to cook onshore, it is n6t proba- 
ble that they exceeded twenty-five miles per day on an average. 
Being unacquainted with the river they could not have traveled 
at night. They would naturally rest and investigate at the junc- 
tion of the two rivers, and then, when they began the ascent of 
the Mississippi, they could not expect to make much progress 
against its current. Hennepin seems to insinuate that Accau and 
Du Gay intended to use the merchandise of La Salle for trading to 
their own advantage, but th«ce seems to have been but little or no 
chance for such a scheme. One thing scared the self-eofttident 
friar, and his prayer was constantly that he might escape from it, 
or that it might happen in daylight and not in the night-time. 
This was a meeting with the Sioux. 

The word Nadewessioilx, of whibh Sioux is an abreviation, 
was of Ojibway or Chippewa origin and meant enemies. That it 
was only applied to the Dakotas is not probable, nor certain, but 
that with the French of that time it was, or shortly became syno- 
nymous with Dakota is equally sure. To the extent of meeting 
them in daylight Hennepin was gratified. For on the twelfth day 
of April, while they stopped in the afternoon to repair their canoe, 
they were surprised and surrounded by a war-party of one-hund- 
red and twenty Sioux. Hennepin held out the peace-pipe, but 
some one snatched it from him. He then ofTered some Martin- 
ique tobacco, which was better received. They told that they 
were on their way to attack the Miamis, but Hennepin mftde them 
understand by signs, and marks which he drew with a stick, that 
the Miamis had gone acrosse the Mississippi, beyond their reach. 
This can only mean, that a party of the Miamis had crossed to the 
eastside within the knowledge of the three Frenchmen, and 
ascended the Wisconsin River to join their tribe, whom we found 
oh the Fox River seven years previous. (Marq. and JoL) If so, 
the capture of the three men took place above the mouth of the 


Wisconsin, The Sioux, who were great hypocrites, and otherwise 
cruel like most Indians, extorted from Hennepin's fears all they 
wanted. It seemp that a proposition had been made to kill the 
prisoners, but it was rejected, because the Sioux, having' already 
seen some of the French and being desirous of having them come 
and trade among them, deemed it unv^ise to kill the prisoners of 
this trade. At length a young chief asked for the pipe, which 
Hennepin gladly gave him. He filled it, smoked it, made the war- 
riors dp the same and having thus given the customary assurance 
of safety, told the Frenchmen,, that, since the Miamis were out of 
reach, the war-party would return home and that they would have 
to accompany it. Whether Hennepin agreed to the proposition 
or not there was no chance to escape the opportunity for the pro- 
posed exploration of the upper river, although the circumstances 
were not very fortunate.. This the friar soon became aware of, for 
when he opened his breviary and began to mutter his morning- 
devotion, his new companions in great terror gave him to under- 
stand, that he would not be allowed to have any intercourse with 
the bad spirit, as they called the book. The Indians thought he 
was invoking their destruction. Accau and Du Gay also remon- 
strated, that he was endangering the lii^es of all three of them, but 
Hennepin boasts that he meant to repeat his prayers at all hazards, 
though he asked the pardon of his two friends for imperiling their 
lives. It seems that he stopped his mutterings and began to sing 
his prayers with a loud voice, whereupon the Indians, being more 
amused than terrified, did np longer object. 

These Sioux, it may be observed, were the ancestors pf those 
who committed the naassacres of 1862. Hennepin complains bit- 
terly of their treatment of him, but considering general Indian 
customs, one o^^gbt be surprised, that it, was no worse. To enable 
him, to keep up with them, as his canoe was heavy and slow, some 
of the warriors had to assist him and his companions in paddling. 
They kept on their way from morning till night, building huts for 
their bivouac when it rained, but sleeping on the open ground in 
fair weatl^er. The three. Frenchmen slept near the young chief, 
who had bpen the, first to sincke the peace pipe, and whp seemed 
to be their protector. But there was another chief, Aquipaguetin, 
a crafty old 6,9.vage, who had lost a son by a fight with the Miamis, 
coflsidered }umsel£;<?be£^t|ed out of, his revenge and made Hennepin 

188 Early DXploraTiOi^s. 

believe that his life was wanted to atone for the lost revenge. Aqui- 
paguetin and some other old savages kept up an unearthly howl over 
Hennepin, who was thereby induced to believe that his life was in 
danger. One night the three captives had to build^their fire at the end 
of the camp, where they were beset by a crowd of the Indians, who 
told them that Aquipaguetin had finally resolved to tomahavk 
them. Hennepin hastened to appease them with presents, and the 
old rogue Aquipaguetin, having found the way to extort what he 
was prevented by others from stealing, practiced on the credulitv 
and cowardice of the friar. On one occasion Aquipaguetin killed 
a bear, and invited the crowd to feast upon it. After that feast 
they danced the " medicine dance " and the pipe of war was handed 
round and smoked, while the old chief harangued them in obder 
to induce the killing and robbing of the captives. He did not, 
however, succeed. Every morning they started at daybreak, some- 
times without breaking their fast. Sometimes they stopped for a 
buffalo hunt on the prairies, and provisions were plenty. They 
passed Lake Pepin, which Hennepin called Lake of Tears, for it 
seems that Aquipaguetin and bis confederates had done something 
extra by way of howling in that neighborhood. 

Nineteen days after their capture they landed near the pres- 
ent site of St. Paul. It seems that the moment of parting was too 
much for the generosity of the band of Sioux, arid that the pris- 
oners and their goods were divided, without any particular quar- 
rel, however. Even the priestly vestments of Hennepin were 
divided. Whether the savages admired their splendor, as Henne- 
pin says, or not, matters but little, since his chasuble was used in 
the conveyance of some bones of a dead Indian, as soon as they 
had appropriated it. Prom the place of landing they began their ' 
march towards their villages, to the northeast, to the neighborhood 
of Lake Buade, now and probably soon after, called Mille Lacs or 
a thousand lakes. The Sioux, being tall and active, marched very 
rapidly, and Hennepin could not have followed, or kept up with 
them, if they had not sometimes assisted bim. The ice of the 
marshes and ponds, which formed every night, although the month 
of May had begun, cut his bare feet, and after swimming the cold 
streams, he nearly perished from cold. His French companions 
being unable to swimj were carried across streams on the shoul- 
ders of the Indiane. Being both rather small men, they neverthe- 


less showed considerable endurance. Hennepin complains that he 
was very faint from hunger, as they gave him but a small piece of 
smoked meat every day, probably, however, as niuch as they had 
themselves. On the fifth day they reached their homes, which 
were to be those of the captives also. Though they were not tor- 
tured, it seems they were made fun of, as Du Gays had to sing 
and dance for the amusement of the crowd, which Hennepin took 
for an intention of killing his comrade. They were presently seated 
in the lodge of a chief and there fed with a mess Of wild rice and 
whortleberries, the best thing Hennepin says, he received since 
their captivity. The distribution of the three captives resulted in 
a vehement dispute among the Indians, but ended with giving the 
friar to his old enemy Aquipaguetin, who adopted him on the spot 
a^ a son. Du Gay, afraid of being sacrificed confessed himself to 
Hennepin, but Accau did not have any great fear, or but little con- 
fidence in the friar. The latter had to accompany his self-styled 
father to his village, not very far off. Five of Aquipaguetin's 
wives conveyed them to an island in Lake Buade. At the entrance 
of the chief's lodge Hennepin was met by a decrepit old Indian, 
who offered him the peace-pipe and placed him on a bear-skin 
spread before the fire. A small boy anointed his limbs with the 
fat of a wild-cat, to relieve his fatigue. The chief fed him with 
fish, covered him with a buffalo robe, and showed him to his six 
or seven wives, who were told to legard him as a son. Little as the 
new relationship pleased the friar, it was his only safety, and, much' 
against his temper,he submitted with some grace. The Indians notic- 
ing his feebleness, prepared sweating baths for him, by which he 
was very much benefited. The fare of the whole band was scanty, 
and the squaws attended to their natural children, in preference to 
an adopted son, who was old enough to take care of himself. Hen- 
nepin was something of a medicinal practitioner, administering 
orvietan, which was at that time considered as a famous panacea, 
bled asthmatics, and shaved the heads of the children, according 
to the fashion of the tribe. He was regarded as a man of occult 
powers, for which he seems to have been indebted to a pocket 
compass and a small metal pot the feet of which resembled the 
heads of lions. His missionary labors did not oppress his con. 
science much, and the only thing indicative of any exertions in 
that direction was the beginning of a vocabulary of the Sioux 


language. He attributed his ill success at conversion to the na- 
tion stupidity of the Indians. 

The lovp bpt-ween him and his Indian father was not very 
great, but Ouasicoudi (Wag^icpody) the principal chief of the 
Sioux of this region was the friend of the three Frenchmen, and 
told Aquipaguetin and the rest, in full council, that they were 
like a dog who steals a piece of meat from a dish and runs away 
with it. When Hennepin complained of hunger, the Indians 
promised him that early in the summer he should go on a buffalo 
hunt with them, and have food in abundance. But when the 
time came he objected, partly for fear of Aquipaguetin's revenge 
for what the great chief had said, partly for other reasons. He 
^ave out that he expected " spirits," that is Frenchmen, to meet 
him at the mouth of the Wisconsin, bringing a supplyof goods 
fur trading with the Indians. He insists, and letters of La Salle* 
seem to confirm, that the latter promised to send traders to that 
place. The Indians believed him and by good luck the assertion 
answered its purpose and was verified, at least as far as the ap- 
pearance of Frenchmen was concerned. The Indians went down 
Rum River, the outlet of Mille Lac, and encamped across the Mis- 
sissippi near the junction of the two rivers. Hennepin, afraid of 
being left alone, begged the Indians, as they passed him, canoe 
after canoe, to take him along, but they would not do it. Neither 
would Aqcau and Du Gay do so, and the former .told the mis- 
sionary, that he had paddled him long enough already. Finally 
two Indians took compassion on him and brought him to the en- 
campment, where Du Gay tried to excuse himself but Accau did 
not. In spits of its being a hunting camp starvation reigned in it, 
and the three white men had nothing to live on but unripe ber- 
ries, which made them sick. 

By the favor of the chief Ouasicoude already mentioned, Hen- 
nepin and Du Gay were permitted to look after the expected 
Frenchmen; Accau preferred to stay with the Indians. The two 
men were furnished with a gun, a canoe and a knife, also a robe or 
cover of beaver-skin. 

The two travelers soon reached the falls, which Hennepin 
named after the patron saint he had selected, St. Anthony of Padua. 
Hennepin's, description of the falls is brief but sufficiently accu- 
rate, In the first edition, of his book, he egtiroates t,heix heigjbt as , 


from forty to ftfty feet, but in that of 1697 he adds ten feet to that 
estimate. As the situation changes rapidly, on account of the 
softness of the uriderlyiilg stone, we rhay concede Hennepin's first 
estimate, since 1821, aiccording to Schoolcraft, the perpendicular 
fall was still forty feet. 

He and Du Gay paddled down the river for sixty leagues, in 
the heat of July without killing any large game except one deer, 
the meat of which soOn spoiled in the hot air." The turtles, on 
which they had to rely, did not often wait to be caught, and so 
there was considerable fasting. One day they had caught a large 
turtle of the snapping kind. Du Gay went in pursuit of buffalo 
on a neighboring prairie, and the friaf, while watching the turtle, 
Suddenly saw his canoe out in the current. He put the turtle on 
its back, pulled off his gray habit of St. Francis, put it upon the 
turtle and some stones on it to keep it down, and then swam for 
the canoe, which he had to push to the shore, as it wOilld have 
upset, if he had attempted to get into it in the river, and then 
paddled back. 

Abou£ the time of his return to the turtle he saw buffalo com- 
ng down to the river when he called for Du Gay and b6th pursued 
the game of which they killed a young cow, which they had to 
cut up in the water near an island where she had fallen. It is 
rather surprising that they did not know enough of Wood craft to 
smoke the meat of the cow, which; of course, soon spoiled. They 
had fish-hooks but were not alway successful in their 6peratiOns, 
though one day they caught a very large cat-fish. At other times 
the fishing eagles dropped them their prey, and one day they 
lived on the remainder of a shovel-nosed sturgeon from which 
they chased an otter. 

Hennepin does not seem to have had much of an eye for 
beauty, since he never mentions the picturesque landscape through 
which the Mississippi flows at the places they had to pass. But 
he had- at least some occasion to think of other things than the 
beauties of the scenery. One day they were overtaken by old 
Aquipaguetin and ten Indians. The old chief wanted to be the 
first to meet the expected traders. He stopped with the two 
travelers for. a short colloquy. Three days after he returned in 
ill humor having found no traders on the spot indicated. He 
gave Hennepin a severe scolding but offered no further violence. 


They now resolved to join a party of Sioux hunting on what they 
call the Bull River, now the Chippewa. By this they would avoid 
falling in with straggling parties of Indians, and secure a supply 
of meat. Accau, their companion, was with this party, whom 
they followed on their hunt along the Mississippi- The hunt 
proved successful. One day an alarm was given. The warriors 
rushed toward the supposed point of danger, but found only two 
women of their own tribe, who brought some news. A war-party 
of Sioux on their way towards Lake Superior had met ''five spirits" 
that is five Europeans. The curiosity of the white men to find 
out to what nationality each of the separate parties belonged was 
mutual. Hennepin and Du Gay returned with the Indians up 
the river, and near St. Anthony they met Daniel Greysolon Du 
Lhut with four well-armed Frenchmen. 

As I shall devote an extra chapter to Du Lhut, I will here say 
but;so much of him as relates to his meeting with Hennepin and 
his companions. While the latter were in June, 1680, in the Sioux 
village at Mille Lac, Du Lhut set out from Lake Superior with 
four men, by ascending the Bois Brule or Burnt Wood River and 
after having cut some trees and opened about one hundred beaver 
dams reached the head of navigation, (by canoe of course), made 
a portage to what was most probably the Upper St. Croix Lake, 
descended its outlet and came to the St. Croix River, which he de- 
scended, and where he must have met the war party mentioned 
above. He was afraid that the three white men, of whom he had 
heard were either Spaniards or Englishmen, who were rivals with 
the French in the Indian trade. When he saw Hennepin, his 
mind was at rest, and the meeting was mutually cordial. They 
followed the Indians to their villages where a feast of honor was 
given to them, at which one^ hundred naked guests were seated 
and where Ouasifioude placed before Hennepin a bark dish contain- 
ing a mess of smoked meat and wild rice. 

The travelers staid for some time, but with the approach of 
Autumn they departed. The Sioux did not object, since they were 
now reasonably sure of their return with goods for trading. As 
the party passed the falls of St. Anthony, the men stole two buf- 
falo robes hung up in honor of the spirit (wa-kon) of the cataract. 
Da Lhut reproached them because they endangered by this fool- 
ish act the safety of the whole party, but the men pleaded their 


need and were refractory. The party proceeded in ill humor but 
were soon diverted bj' the excellent hunting on the way. But 
once they were scared, when, some distance above the mouth'of 
the Wisconsin they saw a war-party of the Sioux approach, while 
the French were just smoking the meat of a buffalo they had 
killed. On this occasion Hennepin, according to his own state- 
ment, displayed his habitual officiousness by instructing Du Lhut, 
who knew much more about such matters than the meddlesome 
friar, how to behave towards the Indians. Everything, however, 
passed off peaceably and the Sioux werit down the river after some 
enemy or other without even mentioning the stolen buffalo robes. 
After various minor adventures Green Bay mission, a staltion of the 
Jesuits, was reached. Its existence is wholly ignored by Henne- 
pin,*who was too much bigoted in favor of his own order, to men- 
tion the rival missionaries, although it is very probable that he 
enjoyed their hospitality. Equally ill-mannered he behaved in 
regard to the Jesuit establishment at Michillimackinac, which they 
soon, after reached and where they spent the winter. Of those 
stationed there he mentioned only the Jesuit Pierson, who' was a 
Fleming like himself and who skated with him and kept him com- 
pany in fishing through a hole in the ice. In the spring Henne- 
pin descended Lake Huron, followed the Detroit to Lake Erie, and 
proceeded thence to the Niagara, where he made a closer examina- 
tion, of the falls, and then proceeded to Lake Ontario, a:nd then 
fina,lly to Fort Front enac. Sis brother missionary there, Buisseti 
had been told Hennepin had been hanged with his own cbi'd of 
St. Franciscus. From Frontenac he went to Montreal, where he 
met Count Frontenac, the governor, who treated the friar, whom 
everybody seems to have considered .as lost, with great civility and 

To quote Parkman, "La Salle and the discovery of the Great 
West:" " And here we bid farewell to Father Hennepin: " Prov- 
. idence, he (Hennepin) writes. preserved my life, that I might make 
' known my great discoveries to the world." He soon after 
■went to Europe, where the story of his travels, found a host of 
readers, but where he died at last (1699) in deserved obscurity. 
But although we might also part with this man, who certainly once 
and possibly oftener, set foot upon the soil of this county at least 
POP .buwJred and seventy years before it bore its name, we can not 

194 EAIfLY E:^PLqEATipNS. 

4o so \7ith0ut giving credit to those whom he ibrgot to pientioh, 
Of slandered and wanted, in the second edition of his book espe- 
cially, tp deprive of the honors unc(uestionably due to them, but 
arrogated to himself. The roan's great fault was an inordinatp 
self-esteepi or conceit. 

I quote from Parkman: "When the later eflitiqns of his 
book appeared, doubts had been expressed of hip veraci(;y. ' I 
here protest to you, before God,' he writes, addressing the reader, 
that my narrative is faithful and sincere, and that you may be- 
lieve everything related in it.' "And yet (says Parkman) we shall 
see, this :feverend father was th,e most impudent of li9,rs; and the 
narrativ,e he speakp of is a, rare monument of brazen mendacity.' 
It i^, however not §0 muQh his first book ip which he did not claim 
much njore than what might have been true, only ignoring Acjcau 
and Du Gay and making hiinself the sole actor, almost of all the 
^(^veptures, for which Parkman accuses him as quoted, but the 
l9,ter ed,itionB of the same in whicb he claimed to have descended 
to t])e mouth of the Mississippi, ^nd returned to the place of his 
capture Tyithin tlae jiime of forty-tree cj^ys, counting from the tiine 
of,,hi,a begiptning the voyage doyrn the Illinois, tbe la^^t day of 
February to the twelf|;h daj^' of April. It would certainly not be 
T^orth mentioning the fabrications of the conceited monk, if* jt 
were f}Pt for the fact, that this iponstrous fable is even npw repeated 
^s truth Ipy some . authors. TJie refutation by Parkman is before 
rae, but i§ too long and top inuch ini,qrwoveri with other parts of 
the ■vfprk tp be uhderstopd by itself alone. I will try and st^te 
the iriaf.ter in sucl| a way as to make it understood by every in- 
telligent reader. 

1. The exploration for which Hennepin arrogates all the 
merit' was part of the enterprise of La Salle, without whose muni- 
ficenee Hennepin would Ujever have seen either the Illinois or the 
Mississippi. ' . ' , ' ,r ■ ' 

2. The'expeditjpn was not under the command of Hennepin 
buj, under that, of Apcau. The latter hail been selected because he 
spoke severa-i Indian languages. He and Du Gay were of higher 
rank than the common followers of La Salle. ' 

3. In the first edition of his book Hennepin, though failing 
to dp justice to the othprs, still did not tell anything Very surpris- 
ing or irnprobable, and that edition, though by np means faultless. 

is on the whole reliable. When he wrot6 it Slstrqilette's book and 
maps had just come but of the press arid were riot generally known 
and could nbt be used for Hennepin's purpose, if he had that pur- 
pose at. that time. 

4. In 1697, about two years before his death Herinepin had 
all the possible chances for manufacturing £tny story. Iri 1682 La 
Salle had descended the lilississippi to thfe Gulf of Mexico, arid ■ 
had on the ninth day of April of that jekr taken pofegession of 
what he called Louisiana, and which mearit all the land drained 
by the Mississippi, and any arid all of its tributaries. On this eX- 
peditiori hfe was accompanied by Zeriobe Membte who described it 
chrbriologically. His book or manuscript was used by Le Clerk 
and from Le Clerk Hennepin stole whole passages " without any 
alterations except fitting the story to suit his own circUnl stances. 
Le Clerk had accompanied La Salle on his last expedition, iri 
which the great leader was murdered by a gang of his riien. After 
his retUrri to France, or at least to civilizatiori, Le Clerk wrote a 
book called " Etablissement de la Foie," in which he had vidleritly 
attacked the Jesuits. This book was suppressed by order bf the 
king but some copies escaped destruction. Parkmari in criticizing 
Hennepin had compared it with Hennepin's work, second edition, 
and he says:. "The records of literary piracy may be searched in 
vain for an act of depredation more recklessly irapuderit." 

5. What I have related above, coriiing from historians who 
had direct accession to the original work', arid which is but a con- 
densation of what I found, may be Considered as nearly true as I 
could niake it, seeing there was considerable toritrOversy in the 

6. H^erinepin dedicated his later editions to Williarii III of 
England, and was not allowed to returri to Canada, nor, probably, 
to France. This protected him arilong those with whom' he staid, 
the Dutch, and as it gave him an air of being a presecuted ' man 
contri'btited riot a little to procure readers for his book. 

Thbse riibre curious may corisult: 

La Salle arid the Discovery of the Great West, by Francis 
Parkriikri. Little, Brown & Co., BOstbri (1886.) 

Discovery of the Mississippi, by J. G. Shea, Nevt' York, 1852. 


fliii tiiaxi, Wo^d rikin^' ha^ becoirie fstridiliar to the pi'e's'e'iit 

196 Early EXpLORAfioNs. 

generation by the fact that the great ''Zenith Oity" of the central 
northwest, the metropolis of the Lake Superior country, was named 
after him, has some not too remote, connection with the history of 
our county and its neighborhood. We find him "in 1680 rescuing 
Hennepin and his two companions from their captivity among the 
Sioux, and returning with them by way of the Mississippi, the Wis- 
; consin and the Fox River, to Green Bay and to Mackinaw. At 
that time it is most probable that he hunted for Buffalo, as he and 
his men needed provisions, either on this or the opposite side of 
the river, but it is more probable that he kept to this side, as 
affording better opportunities from Lake Pepin to Trempealeau, for 
avoiding the Sioux, whom he had reason to believe to be offended 
at the theft of two buffalo robes, taken by two of his men from 
some arrangement sacred to the wa-kon, or spirit, of the FaUs of 
St. Anthony. A war party of that tribe did indeed overtake him 
some distance above the mouth of the Wisconsin, but they were 
■probably ignorant of this grave offense, as they said nothing about 
it, and did not molest the Frenchman. This appears to have been 
the only time that he was on the Mississippi, and we may now 
look into the other parts of his biography as far as they are known 
to us. 

In the following narrative I thought it best to transcribe from 
" La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West," one of the vol- 
umes of a work entitled " France and England in North America " 
a Series of Historical Narratives by Francis Parkman (Little, 
Brown & Co., Boston.) I do this first because I can not find any 
reliable short account. of the adventures of Du Luth in this conn- 
try anywhere else, second because I consider the work of Mr. Park- 
man impartial, candid and critically reliable beyond any others 
on the subject that I had the good fortune to get acquainted with. 

Mr. Parkman says of Du Luth: 

This bold and enterprising man, stigmatized by the Intendant 
Duchesneau as a leader of coureurs de bois, was a cousin of Tonty, 
born at Lyons. He belonged to that caste of lesser nobles, whose 
name was legion, and whose admirable military qualities shone 
forth so conspicuously in the wars of Louis XIV. Though his 
enterprises were independent of those of La Salle, they were at this 
time carried on in connection with Count Frontenac and certain 
jnerchants in his interest, of whom Du Luth's uncle, Patron, was 


one; while Louvigny, his brother-in-law, was in alliance with the 
governor, and was an oflB.cer of his guard. Here, then, was a kind 
of family league, countenanced by Frpntenac and acting conjointly 
with him, in order, if the angry letters of the Intendant are to be 
believed, to reap a clandestine profit under t,he shadow of the gov- 
ernor's authority, and in violation of the royal ^ordinances. The 
rudest part of work fell to the share of Du Luth, who with a per- 
sistent hardihood, not surpassed, perhaps, even by La Salle, was 
continually in the forest, in the Indian towns, or in -remote wilder- 
ness outposts planted by himself, exploring, trading, fighting, rul- 
ing lawless savages, and whites scarcely less ungovernable, and on 
one or more occasions varying his life by crossing the ocean to gain 
interviews with the colonial minister Seignelay, amid the splendid 
vanities of Versailles. Strange to say, this man of hardy enterprise 
was a martyr to the gout, which for more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury grievously tormented him, and which even the intercession of 
the Iroquis saint Catherine Tegah Kouita failed to cure him. He 
was, without doubt, a habitual breaker of the ordinances regulating 
the fur-trade; yet his services were great to the colony and to the 
crown, and his name deserves a place of honor among the pioneers 
of American civilization. 

When Hennepin met him, he had been about two years in the 
wilderness. In September 1678 he left Quebec, for the purpose of 
exploring the region of the Upper Mississippi and establishing 
relations of friendship with the Sioux and their kindred, the 
Assiniboins. In summer 1679 he visited three large towns of the 
eastern division of the Sioux, including those visited (involunta- 
rily) by Hennepin in the following year, and planted the king's 
arms in all of them. 

Early in the autumn he was at the head of Lake Superior 
holding a council with the Assiniboins and the lake tribes, and 
inducing them to live at peace with the Sioux. In all this he 
acted in a public capacity, under the authority of the governor; 
but it is not to be supposed that he forgot his own interests, or 
those of his associates. The intendant angrily complains that he 
aided and abetted the coureur de hois in their lawless courses and 
sent down iii their canoes great quantities of beaver-skins consigned 
to the merchants in league with. him, under cover of whose names 
the governor reaped his share of the profxts. 


What relates to Du Luth's actions in the rescue of Hennepin 
and his party, has been related under that head. The following is 
fi-om an annotation in the book of Mr. Parkman abov6 named: 

The facts concerning Du Luth have been gleaned from a 
variety of sources, chiefly the letters of his enemy Duchesneau, 
who always puts him in the worst light, especially in his despatch 
to Seignelay of Nov. 10th, 1679, when he charges both him and 
the governor with carrying on an illicit trade with the English of 
New York. Du Luth himself in a memoir dated 1685 strongly 
denies these charges. Du Luth built a trading fort on Lake 
Superior called Canahistigoyan or Kamalastigouia. It was on the 
Northside, at the mouth of a river entering Thunder Bay, where 
Fort William now stands. In 1684 he caused two Indians, who 
had murdered several Frenchmen on Lake Superior, to bis shot. 
He displayed in this affair great courage and coolness, undaunted 
by the ci-owd of excited savages, who surrounded him and his lit- 
tle band of Frenchmen.- 

The long letter, in which he recounts the capture and execu- 
tion of the murderers, is still extant. Duchesneau makes his con- 
duct oh this occasion the ground of a charge of rashness. In 1686, 
Denonville, then governor of the colony, ordered hini to fortify 
the Detroit, that is, the strait between Lakes Erie and Hurori. He 
went thither with fifty men and built a palisade fort, which he oc- 
cupied for some time. In 1687, he, together with Tonty and Du- 
rantaye,' joined Denonville against the Senecas, with a body of In- 
dians from the Upper Lakes. In 1689, during the panic of tlie 
Iroquois invasion of Montreal, Du Luth with twenty-eight Cana- 
dians, attacked twenty -two Iroquois in canoes, received their fire 
without returning it, bore down upon them, killed eighteen of 
them, and captured three, only one escaping. In 1695 he was in 
cbtllmand at Fort Fr'ontehac In 1697, he succeeded to the com- 
niiand of a company of infantry, but was suffering wretchedly 
from the goiit at Fort Frontenac. In 1710, Governoi: "^aiudreuil in 
d dispatch to the Minister Ponchai-train announced hia death as' 
occurring in the previous winter, and added the brief comment. 
" d'etait tih tre's hbh'nete hotame," (he Was a very honest man.)' 
Othel- cofltemjporaries spfeak to the same effect. Mr. Dulhut Gen-' 
tilhb'mme'Liotitiais', cjui a beaQdoUp de rrierite at de capacite. (La 
Hontan I, 103 (1703.) " Le Sieur dt Lm, homme d'es^jrit ei d'eXf 


p^E^ence." (Le Clerk II, 137.) Charlevoix callg him " one of the 
bravest officers the king has ever had in this colony." His n^mje 
is variously spelt Du Luc, Du Lud, Du Lude, Du Lut, Du Lhut 
and Du Luth; a great cpmpliment, by the way, to the scbpqlingof 
the Canadian French of his times. I have adopted the la^t of 
theg^'spellings, because it is the one agreeing most clopely wit^, 
the common spelling of the name of the cjty of Duluth. Park- 
rpan spells the name Du Lhut, which is probably the better 

On a contemporary maj). by the Jesuit RafFeix, representing 
the routes of Marquette, La Salle and Du Luth, ^re the following 
words, referring to the last named discoverer, and irjteresting in 
connection with Hennepin's statenients: Monsieur Du Luth was 
first ainong the Siqux in 1678, and came near the source of the 
Mississippi, where he >vent afterwards to rescue Father Henpepin, 
who was a prisoner among the Sioux. (Translated from the Frenc|i 
by. myself.) One of his (Du Liith's) men was named, Pepin; 
hencCj no doubt, the name of Lake Pqpin. 


Among the early explorers, of this particular part of the New 
World, the Upper Mississippi Valley, there was one -yvtio was, not 
prejudiced by the sordid desire for gain, nor by any fanatical no- 
tion qf how good the world would be, if it had only been fornipd 
on his own particular mpd§], but who seems to have expected the 
Indian to bp nothing but an Indian, a .savage sort of mankind,, yet 
still not to be blapied for, what he could not help being. If Carver 
was colored or tainted with sopie of the prejudices, of his Puritan 
ancestors, he did not expect everybody to ^hare the same. His 
previous career as an officer in a coloijial regiment di^ring the 
French and Indian war, in which he h,£|,d served .during tlie w,hple. 
period until th^ surrender of Can,a(da in 1760, by .wbic-h all the 
country to the Mississippi came into tlje possession o,f Qreat Brit- 
ain, seems to have expanded his mental horizon, and directed his 
attention to things entirely different fro)ii those co,ntemplated by 
the traders and missionaries, who had previously penetrated to 
the Sioux and other Northwestern Indians. The following is a 
short sketch, of his life and his explorations : 

Jonathan Carver was a lineal descendant of John Carver,, the- 
fi^st governor of Plyrnouth colony. His grandfather wa^ Wima|{^ 


Cari^er, of England, who was a captain in the army of King Wil- 
liam during the campaign in Ireland, and after\varas an officer in 
the colony, of Connecticut. His father was a justice of the peace 
at Canterbury, Connecticut, where Jonathan was born. When 
Jonathan was fifteen years old, his father died. At the age of 
eighteen he purchased an ensign's commission in one of the Con- 
necticut regiments^ He had before studied medicine, but his rov- 
ing disposition led him to abandon that profession, the study uf 
which seems, however, to have put him in the possession of literary 
accomplishments. He served with distinction under Abercromby 
and Amherst, and very narrowly escaped being killed in the mas- 
sacre of Port William Henry in 1757, and was present in the battle 
at the Heights of Abraham, and at the surrender of Montreal and 
all Canada. He left Boston in June, 1776, and arrived at Macki- 
naw, then the most distant post of the British, in August following. 
Having made arrangements with Col. Rogers, the governor or com- 
mandant of that post for having certain articles for the Indian 
trade or for presents to the Indians sent ahead of himself to the 
Falls of St. Anthony, he sailed to Green Bay, and thence up Pox 
River. While on this river he stopped at the principal town of 
the Winnebagoes where for four days he Was hospitably entertained 
by tto-po-ko-e-kah the widow of a Frenchman named De Kaury, 
who had been mortally wounded at Quebec and died at Montreal. 
She was at that time the principal chief of the tribe, and her des-, 
cendants retained that dignity for several generations. Prom there 
he proceeded to the town of the Sacs at prairie du Sac, which he 
describes as the largest and best built Indian town he ever saw. 
It contained, he says, about ninety houses, each large enough for 
several fajmilies, built of hewn planks, neatly jointed ^.nd covered, 
so completely with bark, as to keep out the most penetrating 
rains. Before the doors were placed comfortable sheds in which 
the inhabitants sat, when the weather would permit, and smoked 
their pipes. The streets were both regular and spacious, appear- 
ing more like a civilized town than the abode of savages. M!r. 
Strong thinks this description somewhat exaggerated, since in less 
than thirty years afterwards only a few remains of fire-places and 
posts were to be seen. Without disputing Mr. Strong's remarks, 
it may as well be confessed that Carver must have seen many In- 
dian towns before the one he here describes, and if he was so much 


struck with its appearance, those he saw before must have been of 
the usual description among Indians. Capt. Carver says: "Whilst 
I stayed here, I took a view of some mountains, that lie about ' 
fifteen miles to the southward, and abound in lead ore (probably 
the Blue Mounds.) 

I ascended on one of the highest of these, and had an extens- 
ive view of the country. For many miles nothing was to be seen 
but lesser mountains, which appeared at a distance like hay -cocks, 
they being free from trees. So plentiful is lead here that I saw 
large quantities of it lying about the streets, in the town of the 
Saukies, and it seemed to be as good as the produce of other coun- 
tries, i 

On the 10th of October we proceeded down the river (Wis.) 
and the next day reached the first town of the Ottigamies (Outa- 
gamies — Foxes). The town contained about fifty houses, but we 
found rbost of them deserted, on account of an epidemical disorder 
that had lately raged among them, and carried off more than one 
halfof the inhabitants. The greater part of those who survived 
had retired into the woods to avoid the contagion." 

This town was probably near Muscoda. The next village 
which, he says, was deserted thirty years previous, and in ruins 
was about five miles above the mouth of the Wisconsin on that 
river. He thinks the inhabitants had removed to Prairie des 
Chiens, which he calls a large town of about three hundred fami- 
lies and the great mart where furs and peltries were brought an- 
nually about the last of May from the remote branches of the Mis- 
sissippi/ for transporting them either to Mackinaw or Louisiana. 

It is a remarkable circumstance, that the traders with him did 
not stop at that town, but madfe their winterquarters about ten 
miles up the river, on the opposite side, and near the confluence 
of the Yellow River. 

Although the season was considerably advanced he with one 
voyageur and a Mohawk Indian pushed on in his canoe towards 
the Falls of St. Anthony. 

On the first day of November he reached Lake Pepin, where 
he observed the ruins of the French factory, where Capt. St. Pierre, 
had formerly resided and carried on a great trade with the Nau- 
dwisfiies (Nadowessioux or Sioux). Here he staid for some time 
^n<J among other things he observed and to a certain extent ex- 


plqred some ancient earthworks which he, however, seems to have 
considered as fortifications. His description will be found under 
the article of " Moundbuilders" because there seems to have been a 
disposition of claiming these earthworks as " pre-hisloric tumuli" 
and also an entirely opposite one, of considering them of no im- 
portance or significance whatever. 

Near the mouth of the St. Croix River he came in contact 
with the Dakota Indians, and in some way mediated a truce or 
local and temporary peace betweeij them and the Chippewas, at 
the time of an imminent battle, and was treated with great con- 
sideration by both parties. At the mouth of St. Peters River he 
had to give, up navigation (Nov. 17,) and to walk to the Falls of_ 
St. Anthony. These he describes very accurately and must have 
made some sketch, as his book contains a copper-plate engraving 
of them. He proc^eded northward a:i far as, the St. Francis or 
Elk River but returned and commenced, on the 25th of Novem- 
ber, to ascend the St. Peters, now Minnesota River, which he was 
able to ascend about 200 miles, without- being prevented by ice. 
There dwelt at that time the Naudowissies, whom Mr. Strong is 
inclined to consider as Western Dakotas, though it is notorious 
that the Dakotas were called Sioux everywhere, and that the name 
of Dakota is of comparatively modern use. 

, Among these people Carver remained five months and was 
well treated. He learned their language, and acquired all the geo- 
graphical information they could impart. He went with them in 
the latter part of April to their grand national council, which was 
held at or near their cave on the Mississippi River, a description 
of which is given below. It has also been, claimed, that on this 
occasion he received, of .two of the chiefs of these same Naudo- 
wissies a grant of land or territory, of which we will speak some- 
where else. It appears that, having first ascertained that the 
gopds; promised him by Gov. Rogers had not arrived at the Falls 
of St. Anthony, he determined to return to Prairie du Chien and 
not to proceed any further northwest for the time being. Having 
procured spme goods from traders at Prairie du Chien, he started' 
for Lake Superior by way of the Chippewa River and, a number 
of tributaries and lakes, but during the summer seems to have 
wandered off towards the St. Croix on some branches of which he 
claims to have seen " mines of virgin copper." After finally 


reaching the shores of Lake Superior and coasting round to the 
Western extretnitj of the lake, he discovered that he could not 
get the necessary goods, he was compelled to give up the one great 
object of his travels, and to return to Mackinaw, where he spent 
the winter, and returned to Boston the following spring, having 
been absent two years and five months, and traversed seven thous- 
and miles. 

He wrote a book in which he laid down his adventures and 
his ideas of the future prospects of the country he had visited. 
He is regarded as the first writer who called attention to the an- 
cient monuments in the Mississippi Valley. His visit to the Da,- 
kotas had the effect of bringing them into better acquaintance and 
friendly relations with' the governor of Mackinaw. He expressed 
many intelligent opiuions respecting the country, and thought, 
from its beauty and fertility it would attract many settlers. Speak- 
ing of its future population and their ability to convey their pro- 
duce to seaports with great facility by the Mississippi River, he 
adds almost a prediction of the Erie Caiial with its present lake 
and river connections: "This might in time be facilitated by 
canals or short cuts and a connection opened by water to New 
York by way of the lakes." He also thought of a route to the 
Pacific as a means .of communication with China aud the English 
possessions in India. 

Carver went afterwards to England, probably, for the publica- 
tion of his book, and for the purpose of interesting people of in- 
fluence in his ideas concerning the future occupancy of the coun- 
try, and it was proposed to build a fort on Lake Pepin and to 
carry out the enterprise. All these schemes were destined to come 
tci nothing, for only seventeen years after his visit to this country 
the whole eastern part of the Mississippi Valley passed from the 
possession of Great Britain to that of the United States; Carver, 
who seems to have been more English than American, did not take 
any part in the American Revolution, but died in England, poor 
and neglected, in 1780. He left a family, consisting of his widow, 
two sons, and five daughters in Connecticut, and one child, by an- 
'6ther woman irl England. As related above, he attended the na- 
tional council of the Dakotas and at that time was made ac- 
quainted with a cave, sonie thirteen miles below the Falls of St. 
Aiiihony on the Mississippi. It has since been known as 

204 Early explorations. 

Carver's Cave. 

The following is his account of it: About thirteen miles be- 
low the Falls of St. Anthony, at which I arrived on the tenth day 
after I left Lake Pepin, is a remarkable cave of an amazing depth. 
The Indians term it Wakon-teebe (Wakan-tipi). The entrance to 
it is about ten feet wide, the height is five feet, The arch within 
is nearly fifteen feet|high, and about thirty feet broad; the bottom 
consists of fine clear sand. About thirty feet from the entrance 
begins a lake, the water of which is transparent, and extends to an 
unsearchable distance, for the darkness of the cave prevents, all 
attempts to acquire a knowledge of it. I threw a small pebble 
towards the interior part of it with my utmost strength; I could 
hear that it fell into the water, and notwithstanding it was of a 
small size, it caused an astonishing and terrible noise, that reve;;be- 
ted through all these gloomy regions. I found in this cave many 
Indian hieroglyphics, which appeard very . ancient, for time had 
nearly covered them with moss, so that it was with difficulty I 
could trace them. They were cut in a rude manner upon the in- 
side of the wall, which was composed of stone so extremely soft, 
that it might be penetrated with a knife — a stone everywhere 
found near the Mississippi." (Potsdam Sandstone.) 

I have studied diligently to find out the exact location of this 
cave, but had to give it up. Schoolcraft seems (1820) to have consid- 
ered Fountain Cave near St. Paul as the one described by Carver, 
but Mr. Strong considered that opinion erroneous. He does not 
locate it, but says, that it has been materially altered by the ele- 
ments, the roof has fallen in and the entrance choked up by rock 
and earth. The track of a railroad runs along the bank of the 
river directly in front of the cave, in the construction of which the 
cave is virtually destroyed, and the stream whichflowed through it 
now supplies a watertank, while the subterranean lake has disap- 

Visitors from this county do therefore not need to try to 
satisfy their curiosity in hunting up this cavern. 

Carver's Grant. 

It has been claimed by the descendants of Captain Carver, and 
their actual or presumptive representatives, that at the national 
council of the Naudawessies to which Carver was admitted as 
related above, a grant of land was given to him by two of the chiefs 


Hau-na-pau-je-tin or Saake, and 0-gou-si-gum-lith-gp or Turtle, 
The description of the land contained in this grant is as follows: 

From the Falls of St. Anthony along the eastern baijk of the 
Mississippi River to the lower end of Lake Pepin and the mouth 
of Chippewa River, thence due East five daj's travel at twenty miles 
a day, thence North six days travel at twenty miles a day, thence 
in a straight line to the Palls of St. Anthony. This is an item of 
interest to the citizens of Buffalo County, especially those residing 
in the northern part of it. 

It so happens, that the line between townships twenty -two and 
twenty-three north, crosses the Chippewa River, but a very short 
distance above its mouth, and therefore all of township twenty- 
three and twenty-four located in this county lies Within the tract 
described, which formerly on maps of Wisconsin and Minnesota 
was designated as the Carver Tract. We will subsequently discuss 
the ultimate fate of the claim, but may as well relate here that 
sales have been made of lands in this county by Dr. Wm, Pea- 
body and Hannah his wife, then residents of the city of Chicago 
under a color of title based on a pretended abstract of the Carver 
Tract. I think it was in 1868 when Mr. DeGroff, then County 
Clerk, and the writer of this, then County Surveyor, and engaged 
in entering names in the plat-books, had a good deal of amuse- 
ment in the perusal of a printed copy of such an abstract. I took 
a copy of the document, which was rather lengthy, but can not 
find it any more. As it related to land in township twenty -five 
north, it could not be recorded in this county, but I remember the 
contents and solne of the peculiar expressions quite well, and will 
give them here, as nearly as possible in the original language. 

The instrument was in good imitation of what may have been 
the more ancient form of a deed in Great Britain and the Colonies. 
By it the above named chiefs of the Naudowessies granted to their 
very much honored friend. Captain Jonathan Carver, "a subject oj 
George the Third, King oj the English and other nations" the above 
described tract for his great services to the nation of the Naudo- 
wessies. The nature of these services was not expressed. The 
abstract proceeded to relate, that the original grant signed by the 
a;bove named chiefs was deposited in the "Plantation Office in the 
Qity of London in England." There was more of it, mainly relating 
to the pedigree of Mrs. Hannah Peabody, who was represented to 


"be a lineal or collateral descendant of the renowned captain. The 
paper looked as if it had been cut out of a book or pamphlet, prob- 
ably a printed report of some Congressional Committee on the 

I can not dismiss this' subject without giving the objections to 
the claim and its history and tinal rejection by Congress. 

In the first place the deed or grant is not mentioned by Car- 
ver in the " Journal " of his travels. The objection of Mr. Strong 
to the validity of the grant, if made, because the Naudowessies or 
Sioux were not in possession of the land granted, is not conclusive, 
because it is almost impossible to prove pro or contra in the 

But if we were willing to concede the authenticity of the deed, 
its validity is still seriously impaired by the fact, that the king 
had by express proclamation forbidden, that any pi-ivate person 
should presume to make any purchase of any land from any In- 
dians. This proclamation, having been made three years previous 
to the date of the grant, must have been known to Capt. Carver. 
It would, also, have prevented his acceptance or solicitation of 
the grant. 

Another very serious objection is that not any of his surviving ; 
children seem to have known anything of this supposed wealth or 
at least did not lay any claim to it in a legal way. 

The first trace of the intention of getting possession of the 
property appears to have come to light in 1817, thirty-seven years 
after the death of Captain Carver. That year two young men 
(names not given) left the Green Bay settlement, in a bark canoe, 
for Prairie du Chien, by way of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, at 
which place they met Major S. H. Long, and proceeded with him 
up the Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony, with a view to es- 
tablish their right to lands claimed to have been granted by the 
Indians to their grandfather Jonathan Carver. The claim had, 
while under English supremacy been refused confirmation by 
the king and council. 

But it appears that the first claim had been made -to Congress 
m 1806 with no result. In 1823 Mr. Van Dyke, from the commit- 
tee on public lands reported to the senate adversely to the claim. 

In a report of 1825 Mr. Campbell of Ohio, also from the cotn- 
Aittee on public lahdS, demonstrated, after an exhaustive discus- 


sion of the questions involved, that there was no foundation for 
the pretended claim, and that it was utterly worthless. 

In a letter from Lord Palmerston, dated Feb. 8, 1834 to Hon. 
Aaron Vail, charge d' affaires of the United States to Great Britain, 
is the statement in reference to this claim, that "No statement ha« 
been found of any ratification of the grant in question by His 
Majesty's government." 

Finally by the treaties made with Sioux and Winnebagoes all • 
their title to lands in Wisconsin and adjacent parts of Minnesota 
became vested in the United States, which was the final extinction 
of any hopes, that the " Carver Grant" wo'lild ever be recognized- ■ 

All this, however, did not prevent the transactions of Dr. Pea- 
body above stated, which he must have known to be fraudulent. 

The reader is now left to his own judgment in the matter. 

In the "History of Minnesota" by Rev. E. D. Neill, I no- 
ticed among the headings of a chapter the item: "One of Carver's . 
sons killed," but could not find a description of- the deed. It is 
improbable that it happened in Minnesota or in the West. The, 
only trace of relativeis of the captain who made, actual inspection 
were the two grandsons mentioned above, 


The reader has iri the biographies of Hennepin and Du Luth, 
and in the narrative of Captain Career, noticed the proximity of 
Lake Pepin to the County of Buffalo. After the return of Henne- 
pin to Canada a change in the government was made. In the 
place of the Marquis deBuade, Countof Frontenac, a certain De la 
Barre, a French officer of some public credit, and what accounts 
for it, a favorite of the Jesuits, was appointed in his place. We . 
cannot from our impartial standpoint exonerate the Count of Fron- 
tenac from the formal charges brought against him by his enemies, 
for he was certainly .arbitrary and despotic, but he was a ruined 
nobleman and bent on mending his desperate fortunes- He would 
have been an exceptional Frenchman, if he had been troubled with 
many pangs of conscience in the choice of the means to that end- 
But he was .wiser than his king and the court surrounding the lat- 
ter, and, had he been left in power, it is a question, whether in 
after times it would nave been possible to wrench the province of 
Canada from the grasp of the French., His policy, selfish as it 
may, have been in several ways, was neither narrow nor short- 


sighted. He was the friend of La Salle, and his removal was 
equivalent to the destruction of La Salle's colony on the Illinois 
river. The incapacity of De la Barre was so apparent that after 
three years he was superseded by the Marquis de Denonville. 
Within the three years of his reign falls the sending of Nicholas 
Perrot to the Mississippi for the purpose of establishing a trading- 
post on Lake Pepin. This Nicholas Perrot was one of the many 
interpreters, who were in government employ, sometimes under the 
direction of the governor, but oftener under that of the intendant 
of the colony. Most people have a very confused idea of the 
French government of Canada. It would appear to anybody but 
aTrenchman of the old regime (ancien regime) that the govern- 
ment was a sort of military despotism, arbitrary enough, but 
highly concentrated. So it was in all, except the finances. The 
King did not consider the government as a machine to extend his 
power so much, as to increase his revenues. Kings like Louis 
XIV, and Louis XV, and the intervening regency, needed money, 
and not a little of it. Hence an instrument was created to make 
sure of that money everywhere. The intendant was this instru- 
ment. Canada was, according to the view of King' and court 
nothing but a large trading station; colonies were out of the 
question for they might cost money, and might wish to get rich 
themselves. The fur-trade was yet the ruling interest and the 
governor, then in accordance with the intendant, selected Perrot to 
open up a new source of it among the Sioux. The character of 
Perrot is not without suspicions. One of his name attempted to 
poison La Salle, but it may not be possible to identify the two as 
the same. Certain it is that any enemy of La Salle was sure of 
favor and promotion under De la Barre. It was, however, late 
under his government that Perrot was dispatched to the new post, 
for in 1685, the year of Perrot's expedition, De la Barre himself 
was superseded by Denonville. The post established by Perrot' 
was near the lower end of Lake Pepin on the Westside and may 
have been at Frontenac. He seems to have remained less than 
two years, for he went down to Quebec or Montreal during 1687, 
and took part in the war against the Iroquois in company with Du 
Luth and Durantay. It is reported that Indians, of the tribe of 
the Miamis, brought lead to his trading post. Circumstances make 
it improbable that this should have happened, though it is quite 


possible that about that time the Miamis, who dwelt upon the 
lower part of the Wisconsin, worked some of the lead mines in 
their neighborhood. The intervening space, a distance of perhaps 
two hundred miles (160 from Prairie du Chien to Frontenac) was 
occupied by Winnebagoes and Sioux, and probably by Sacs and 
Foxes. In 1689, the same year in which Denonville was sup- 
planted again by Frontenac, Perrct, after convening all the neigh- 
boring nations at Sault St. Marie for a general treaty of peace 
among themselves and submission to the French government, re- 
turned on the 8th of May to his abandoned post with forty men. 
But he must soon' have left again, and was afterwards among the 
Miamis. With him was Pere Marest of the Jesuits. It is not 
known what became of him and his post afterwards. 

After the reinstatement of the energetic Frontenac there seems 
to have been more enterprise in the Canadian government. The 
first adventurer on the Mississippi was 

Le Sueur, 
said to have come in 1683. His first post was upon an island in 
the Mississippi opposite or bslow the mouth of the St. Croix River. 
Le Sueur was eminently a pioneer of Minnesota. It does not ap- 
pear that he established any post on the Lake, nor that he. found 
Perrot's post occupied. His life and achievements are quite inter- 
esting, but not of any importance for our purpose. He came again 
in 1695, took some Sioux and Chippewas to Montreal 1696 and 
went to France 1697, was captured on the high sea by the English, 
released 1698, and came up the Mississippi 1700. Abandoned his 
fort on the Minnesota in 1702, after which he was in Louisiana or 
in France. His associate Penicau left some papers about their ad- 
ventures. If Le Sueur should have been at his first post in 1683, he 
would in that case have preceded Perrot. The next fort on the 
lake was built by. 

Boucher de la Perriere, 
-who arrived at' the place on the. 17th of September 1727. It was 
near Stockholm on the eastside of the lake. With him was the 
Jesuit Father Guignas, who giyes a glowing description of how the 
birthday of Charles de Beauharnois, then governor of Canada, was 
celebrated at the fort, which was named after him. In the follow- 
ing spring, after a winter remarkable for the want of snow or the 
JW,?,;i quantity of it, the greatest flood on record occurred, but it 


is an error to suppose that the fort was abandoned on account of 
it, for the flood did only reach to the floor of the buildings. The 
narrative of Guignas makes it probable that it was evacuated on 
account of the hbstility of the Foxes ' or Outagamies, though it is 
rather odd to think, that at that time they should have had the 
powef to molest a post'in a country fio near the Sioux, and after- 
ward claimed' by that nation. It is however certain that the Foxes 
were at that time a'powerful nation, and almost always at war with 
the French. 

The trading posts' and forts on Lake Pepin must have been 
occupied, and have probably been repaired from time to time, 
although Capt. Carvter SEiys' nothing of them. One thing is strange, 
that is, that of all' the" places on the Lake, or on the river for some 
distance above it, none retained a French name, except Frontenac. 
It is hardly necessary to caution the reader not tO' confound this 
Frontenac with the fort of the same name built by La Salle on 
Lake Ontario, on the site of which now stands the city of Kings- 
ton, near the outflow of the St. Lawretlce from the lake. Fronte- 
nac in Minnesota' is iri Goodhue County, on Lake Pepin, opposite 
Maiden Rock. There were several forts, which in this case always 
means trading-posts surrounded with palisades, in the neighbor- 
hood; one at Point au Sable or Sandy Point, and one on Prairie 
Island, which the French called Isle Pelee, but where these points 
really, or exafctly, were, is not now t6 be found out very easily. 
Charlevoix who ■wrote in 1721 placed Isle Pelee above the Lake. 
Th^ history of French forts is almost as puzzling as that of Indian 
tribes.' The' influence of these temporairy possessions was almost 
nothing,' except that in later or more modern times' the trading 
posts were much more- numerous and important on the Minnesota 
side than on that of Wisconsin; This may be ascribed to the fact 
that the ancient trading posts attracted the Indians, and the In- 
dians in turn attracted the traders, most' of whom were of French 
extraction, pure or mixed. Prominent examples of these later 
traders in this neighborhood were La Bath and Alexis Bailey, but 
in their times the necessity of forts was no longer very urgent, ex- 
cept for military establishments. 

Early setti.kment. ^ii 


The early settlement of the western Cv^untry in general and 
our portion of the Mississippi Valley in particular, had to con- 
tend with difficulties which are unknown to the present genera- 
tion. SicQilar conditions may still exist in frontier settlements, as 
existed in our neighborhood forty years ago, but in general the 
obstacles to the rapid settlement and development of any new 
country are now-a-days much less numerous and formidable. At 
that time the western part of our state was, for all intents and pur- 
poses, much farther from Milwaukee or Chicago than it may now 
be considered to be from New York, or any city on the Atlantic. 
Railroads, which are now crossing all the states and territories 
west of us, began just about to be thought of in the East. The 
rivers, those natpral highways, of course, were here, but the steam- 
boats, which afterwards became of such importance in the march 
of settlement, were not yet built, or employed in more favored 
localities. Transportation and intercourse were slow and difficult. 
From the table given in the chapter on " Transportation " we find 
that as late as 1844 there were but 41 arrivals of steamboats at 
Fort Snelling or Mendota, and ten years later there were not yet 
ten times as many, and all of :the boats of very small size, com- 
pared, with the floating palaces of later times. 

How it was be-fore the era of steamboats I can but refer the 
reader. to the chapter on "Transportation," for it would be tedi- 
ous. to repeat what is said there. Butin retrospection I have come 
to doubt,. whethier.the matter of transportation was of more influ- 
ence on .early settlement and political history, or the reverse. For, 
the mode of transportation being given, it is evident that settle- 
ment, and political history, as its consequence, will accommodate 
themselves to it; but a settlement existing, 'transportation might 
seek it. We must. look back to the first adventures of white men 
upon our eoil' to trace the incipientsteps of settlement. The .In- 
diana were no settlers, although .they were .the occupants of the 


country. It is true they had villages and cultivated some land, 
but their tenure was not intentionally permanent, and not pro- 
prietary. The same might be said of the traders, that came among 
them, and it is a matter of history that the French Government of 
Canada as well as of France discouraged colonization or perma- 
nent occupation, in another word— settlement. A few depots or 
entrepots, however, were absolutely necessary, and the aggregation 
of some settlers around such posts of trade could not be pre- 
vented, though it might be discouraged. The missionaries, afraid 
that they would have to share influence, power and profit with 
permanent settlers, instigated the government to its narrow policy 
of anti-colonization. Thus we find, that during about one hund- 
red and fifty years of nominal, and of eighty years of virtual pos- 
session of Wisconsin by the French, there was only one, still un- 
certain, settlement within its present boundaries. This was at 
Green Bay, the place first visited by an embassador of the French 
■ governor to the Winnebagoes in 1634. This visit is described in 
the chapter on Jean Nicolet. The next settlement was at Prairie 
du Chien. The evidence for this is not very direct, and it is rather 
due to the advantageous situation of the place, near the mouth of 
the Wisconsin River, that we are inclined to believe in a very 
early settlement at this point, than to any documentary testimony 
in regard to it. There are, indeed several circumstances, which 
seem to contradict this assumption. The first is that under the 
administration of De la Barre, the governor, who succeeded to 
Frontenac, an enemy to La Salle, and opposed to all colonization, 
sent Nicholas Perrot (not Parrot as the B] ue Book says) to the 
Mississippi to establish a trading post on the river, which was 
erected on the westside of Lake Pepin, 1683. Other fbrts were 
subsequently erected by Le Sueur, Laperriere and others, and, 
according to the opportunities of trade and other circumstances, 
occupied or abandoned, while yet there was nothing said of a 
post at the mouth of the Wisconsin River. It seems that an offi- 
cial document relating to taking -possession of the Upper Missis- 
sippi country by the French dated May 28, 1689, has among, its 
witnesses " Monsieur De Borieguillot " conamanding the' French 
in the neighborhood of the Ouiskonche on the Mississippi. This 
points to an establishment ot some kind, perhaps only a stockade 
or trading fort, intended by the government to be occupied, but 


certainly not by a garrison. It is true that in the same year the 
active Count of Frontenac had been reinstated in the government 
of La Nouvelle France, and there was some hope of better times, 
but there had been a period of inactivity for about seven years, 
and there were no arrangements for garrisoning so distant a post. 
In the same year King William's war began and lasted about 
eight years. The energies of the Canadian government were 
largely engaged in this, and distant enterprises could hardly be 
thought of. There were certainly always some adventurers, who 
preferred living at peace with the Indians of the West to fighting 
the English and the Iroquois in Canada; there was more gain and 
more fun in it. Such may from time to time have congregated at 
the mouth of the Wisconsin or the most favorable point of settle- 
ment near it, and some kind of establishment, intermittent though 
and unreliable, must have been at the place. It is not very im- 
portant whether one Cardinelle and his wife settled at the plaoe in 
1728, the year of the great flood, but the establishment of a French 
trading post in 1737 with a stockade for protection seems to indi- 
cate some settlement previously unprotected. Another account, 
however, places the establishment of that post in 1765 and con- 
nects it directly with the village of Prairie du Chien. 

All this is called in question by a circumstance mentioned by 
Captain Jonathan Carver, who visited these parts in 1766. He 
mentions a large Indian town, but no fort, and the merchants 
who had come with him, did not winter at the mouth of the Wis- 
consin, but on the other side of the Mississippi, on the Yellow 
River, about ten miles above Prairie du Chien. As for the last 
■circumstance, which seems by many to be considered as propf 
positive, that there was no accommodation for the traders at Prai- 
rie du Chien, I can see nothing of the kind in it. The winter sea- 
son was on hand, and Captain Carver himself found his progress 
prevented by ice about five weeks after he had left his fellow trav- 
elers. The traders, perhaps, knew more about the conditions of a 
successful winter establishment than the Captain. In fact we find 
that long afterwards it was a custom of traders in that neighbor- 
hood to live during the winter among the Sioux, and during the 
summer at the Prairie du Chien. This clinching proof against the 
existence of a settlement at the latter place is, therefore not so very 
decisive. Another circumstance must come into consideratioi] , 


Prairie du Chien was within the territory claimed by the Winneba- 
goes and their confederates. Traders were most probably abundant 
among them, and new ones would naturally go to the Sioux, across 
the river. It is, moreover, probable, that Carver's companions 
were Englishmen, or Yankees, who might have found it uncon- 
genial among the Frenchmen. French tradition says that the 
Prairie du Chien was bought of the Fox Indians probably in 1755, 
the purchase being confirmed in 1802 by a Fox chief. The name 
of the Prairie was derived from another Fox chief, whose Indian 

. name was " Ahin," whic the French translated by " chien," which 
in English means " dog." In the history of the " Indians," and in 
" Political History " much of the events connected with Prairie du 
Chien had to be related. In this chapter we propose to consider 
its relation to the extending settlements. In this regard it must 
be regretted that the inhabitants of the place were French. They 
wefe very good pioneers, or rather adventurers, but lacked one 
essential quality of settlers or colonists. They did not want, and 
could not be expected, to setite, that is to make up their minds to 
stay in a certain place, and to improve that place, so as to make 
their stay pleasant and profitable; they were too mercurial. for 
that by inheritance, and spoiled by the allurements of the Indian 
trade, a trade which was a game at hazards rather than anything 
else, and thus just suited to French dispositions. Their farming 
operations were crude and limited. Hence there was no ambition 
for improvements in tools and implements, and the emigrant, who 
wanted to settle down in such a neighborhood, found, that there 
was no dependence on the people for many of his most urgent 
wants. Nevertheless, the place could not help becoming a basis 
of supplies for the ads^ancing settlements as well as for Indian 

-traders. As late as 1781, under British rule, the population being 
still overwhelmingly French, the 'more reliable history of the 
place begins. Four years previous, says the French tradition, the 
old fort had burnt. In 1781 the first purchase of land, which 
looked like an intention of founding an actual settlement, was 

-made for three traders, by Governor Patrick Sinclair of Mackinaw. 
Its extent was six- miles up and down the river, probably from 
the mouth of the Wisconsin six miles up the Mississippi, at an 
average width of six miles from that river on the east side. In 
1798 the 'United States took formal possession, which, however, 


was quietly ignored by the French in this remote region, and it 
was not until nine years later that they were reminded of their 
political connection by the advent of Lieut. Pike's party of explo- 
ration, and one year after that by the appointment of an Indian 
agent. The population did not fancy their new sovereign, the 
United States, and took the first opportunity for showing their 
preference by piloting the British forces across the state in 1814. 
After peace and restoration the town continued to grow, especially 
after the defeat and expulsion of the Sacs and Foxes, and later the 
Winnebagoes. The development of the mining country did per- 
haps not really injure Prairie du Chien, but reduced the import- 
ance of it to the level of facts, from the inflation of French vapor- 
ing. Galena began to be a formidable rival in spite of the disad- 
vantages of its situation. It had never been French; that counter- 
balanced all! The " ancien regime," the only one they knew or 
cared to know, in this country, is yet sticking to the early French 
settlements, like the egg-shell to the newly hatched chicken, only 
it can't be dropped. For a time the old burg revived, when the 
railroad terminated in it, but when the bridge was built',' and the 
train departed, the spirit of enterprise left on it for St. Paul and 
other places. In the meantime La Crosse had started up. Nathan 
Myrick came in 1841, but others may have located there and 
left, before that time. Certain it is that the permanent settlement 
of La Crosse is not any older than the uninterrupted settlement 
of Fountain Cit}', at which place Thomas A. Holmes located in 
the fall of 1839. La Crosse, however, with the advantages of a 
convenient site, and being at the mouth of Black River, upon 
whose banks very soon a considerable lumber interest developed, 
outstripped every place above it and first of all the old French 
village of Prairie du Chien. It could not compete with St. Paul 
and Minneapolis, but has kept ahead of all the other places that 
started in the race at about th^same time. The county of La 
Crosse was organized in 1849, including all of Crawford County 
north of Bad Axe, now 'VernonJCountj', hence all of Buffalo County 
below Beef River: Some settlers were present in this county, es- 
pecially in that part of it, which then belonged to La Crosse county. 
The'following list gives the names of those known to have been 
residents of that part: 


Idst of Settlers in the lower part of the County when La Orosse 

County was set off: 

J.- Adam Weber "| 
Frank Weber | 

Sew^Birtsch |>AtHolmes':Landingor in the neighborhood. 

Claus Liesch | 

Caspar Wild J 

Victor Probst ) 

John C. Waecker [ At Twelve Mile Bluff. 

Joseph Berni j 


But the original first settler had left for the country farther up 
the river. It was: 


From the moment that I had concluded to write the history 
of Buffalo County, I was anxious to learn as much as possible of 
the life and circumstances of the man, whose name precedes this 
article. Authorities on hand were exceedingly reticent on the sub- 
ject, and demonstrated their ignorance not less by contradicting 
themselves than by silence. That very important personage, the 
oldest inhabitant, even after Holmes was not on hand, and every- 
body told a different story. It is asserted in one place that in 
1841 when Johann Adam Weber arrived at Holmes' Landing, 
the original proprietor or possessor of that place had been there 
15 years, having come in 1826. It was further asserted that no one 
knew where Mr. Holmes went after leaving his late residence ;"^but 
it was darkly hinted at that he had gone 

" To the land of the Dacotahs, 
To the land of handsome women; 
Striding over moor and meadow. 
Through interminable forests, 
Through uninterrupted silence." — (Hiawatha.) 

In the course of time I wanted to study the manners of the 
Sioux or Dakotas, and as Minnesota had been their latest abode in 
our neighborhood I borrowed of my friend Emil Leonhardy an 
old Atlas of Minnesota, expecting to find all about the Sioux, of 
which I was rather disappointed but in listlessly turning oyer the 
leaves, I was attracted by the article headed: 

P[ONEERS. 217 


Having thirty or more years ago heard of that town, and of 
the Indian Chief for whom it was named, I examined closely and 
found the following: 

Early History. 

The first settlement was made in Shakopee, while the Indians 
were yet present in undiminished numbers on the Minnesota. 
Thomas A Holmes, a native of Pennsylvania, who had been a pio- 
neer in Milwaukee and Janesville, Wisconsin, 1835 to 1838, and a 
trader among the Indians at Fountain City, St. Paul, Sauk Rapids 
and Itasca, came in 1851, and located the land where Shakopee is 
situated. He was one of the original proprietors of the town, as he 
had also previously been of Milwaukee, Janesville, and several 
other towns in the Northwest. 

Here, then, were several pointers which were diligently made 
use of. The first step was to find out whether Mr. Holmes was 
still alive, and whether he was, in that case, at Shakopee or some 
other place . Not having any acquaintances in Shakopee, I con- 
cluded to appeal to the liberality of the Press at that place. 
Rowell's Newspaper Directory showed that that were two 
papers at that place : "The Shakopee Courier "and the "Scott 
County Argus," both of which were addressed and replied as fol- 

Shakopee, Minn., Jan. 22, 1887. 
Office of Shakopee Courier, C. A. Stevens, Publisher. 
Me. L. Kessingek. 

Dear Sir: — Thomas A. Holmes now lives in Culman, Alabama, 
where he went some years ago to help built up that section of the 
sunny South, having completed his labors in that direction here- 
away in the North. You might write him, but I understand he 
says he can only just about write his name now, but " can skin a 
muskrat quicker than an Indian." I had a pretty long acquaint- 
ance with Uncle Tommy, and always found him " straight as an 
arrow " and full of fun. He was a general favorite in this section 


C. A. Stevexs. 


Office of the Scott County Argus, Wm. Hinds, Editor and Publisher. 

Shakopee, Minn., Jan. 27, 1887. 
L. Kessingee, Esq., Alma, Wis. 

Dear Sir: — Thomas A. Holmes was the founder of this city, as, 
well as Helena, Mont., and some thirty other towns, and is at 
present living at Culman, Alabama, to which place he moved six 
or eight years ago. He is as young as he was forty years ago, but 
as I was born some ten years after he had settled here, I can give 
you but few particulars of his eventful career, although there are 
many here who could. Yours truly 

Wm. Hinds. 
This led to a direct correspondence with Mr. Holmes, which 
on his part was carried on by Mr. J. A. Johnson, Publisher of the 
" Alabama Tribune " of Culman, Culman Co., Alabama. The 
first letter is as follows: 

Culman, Ala., Jan. 23, 1887. 
L. Kessingee, Esq. 
Mr. Thomas A. Holmes, of whom you write, is now a resident 
of this place. He will be 83 years old in March. Though quite 
old, he is enjoying good health, and is as earnest in building towns 
as he was forty years ago. He is married, and his wife is a de- 
scendant of the Woodbury stock of Vermont, though much youn- 
ger than he. He does not recollect Buffalo County. I presume 
it hf»s been fornied since your state. He refers you to Milo Jones, 
now living at Fort Atkinson, on Rock River, above Janesville and 
near Watertown. Mr. H. is a remarkable man and has seen much 
of border life among the Indians as a trader. 

J. A. Johnson. 
On February 7th, I addressed another letter to Mr. J. A. John- 
son, into which I included a more or less accurate and elaborate 
description of Holmes' Landing as it was, such names of places 
and persons as Mr. Holmes could not fail to remember, and which 
I had learned from an extended study of local histories of our 
neighborhood. I also suggested the gift of a photograph of Mr. 
Holmes for a frontispiece picture. This brought the following 

Culman, Ala., March 5th, 1887- 
Dear Sir:-— In reply to yours of February 7th, Mr. Holmes 
says, that he landed there late in the fall Pf '39 with Robert Ken- 


nedy and family, the whole party consisting of thirteen. Intended 
to go to the mouth of the St. Croix River, but met the ice at that 
point and stopped. Rev. Stevens, a Presbyterian Missionary was 
on the other side of the river at the prairie of Wabasha, the head 
of the Wabasha band of Indians. He moved him to the landing 
and built him a house. Says the sketch is aboui correct, remem- 
bers the names mentioned, also Major Hatch, who came up to 
run an opposition trading establishment. Major Hatch is now 
living at St. Paul, and could probably be of some service to you. 
(See note.) 

I enclose a photograph taken from a picture of some thirty 
years ago. Mr. Holmes looks older now, of course, but is well pre- 
served for one of his age. He still champs the bit to be on the 
border, and points with pride and pleasure to his early and rough 
life. Mr. Holmes is now sitting at my side while I pen these 

Hoping that I have answered your demands and been of some 
service in your efforts to present a true history, I am 

Yours truly 

J. A. Johnson. 
In consequence of having received the above mentioned pho- 
tograph, I procured from our photographer in Alma a few copies, 
one of which I presented to Mr. C. A. Stevens at Shakopee, and 
inquired as to the faithfulness of the likeness. This I thought 
a necessary precaution, because the photograph was not from life 
directly, and the picture might not have been sufificiently recog- 
nizable, but I was assured by the following letter; 

Shakopee, Minn., May ]2th, 1887. 
Office of Shakopee Courier. 

Mr. L. Kessingeb. 
Dear Sir: — I have been unable to answer your letter before. 
The uncle Tom Holmes picture looks like him in his old age. His 
friends here recognize it at a glance. Wishing for your success in 
your biographical sketches, and thanking you for the picture, 

I remain, etc, 

C. A. Stevens. 
To the former letter, as far as it relates to Major Hatch, and 
the ainnexed letter of Mr. Jofrea as far as it relates to Robert Ken- 
nedy, I have to make the following note; 



June let, 1887, 1 addressed to the Pioneer Press of St. Paul 
a short note, inquiring, whether the above named gentlemen, or 
either of them, were still alive and in St. Paul. To this I received 
the laconic answer: "They are both dead." Prom a footnote in the 
History of Winona County I learn that Major Hatch died at St. 
Paul Sept. 14th, 1882, of cholera morbus. The subsequent letters 
grew out of suggestions already related above, and such as occur 
in Mr. Jones' letter. 

Letter oj Mild Jones: 
Fort Atkinson, Feb. 26, '87. 
L. Kessinger, Esq. 

Dear Sir: — Yours of 17th re- 
ceived and contents noted and in 
reply would say, from memory: 
In Sept. 1835 on my return from 
a survey in the north, I met T. A. 
Holmes in Milwaukee, who in- 
formed me he had purchased a 
piece of land on Rock River un- 
sight and unseen, — thought he 
had a town-site, and water-power, 
and wished me to locate it for 

At that time the Rock River 
valley was unknown, as there 
were no settlements above Rock- 
ford. (111.) 

A party was organized consist- 
ing of T. A. Holmes, William, 
John and Joshua Holmes, John 
Inman, Geo. Fulmer and your 
humble servant. After 2 or 3 
days cutting and clearing in Mil- 
waukee woods, we succeeded in 
getting to what was then called 
Prairieville with our teams, and I 
think the first one through the 
timber to openings and prairie 


This agrees with the state- 
ment of Mr. J. P. McGregor as 
to Mr. Holmes' residence at 
Milwaukee, but contradicts the 
statement of Mrs. Atwood 
as to her brother's removal to 
his land on Rock River in 
1835, since it is highly improb- 
able that the removal took 
place so late in the season. 

The name of Prairieville sug- 
gests an embryo settlement be., 
fore the expedition related by 



and in due time reached the Rock 
and located the land, running 
some levels. 

Laid a village plat, and named 
it Rockport from the fact of a Big 
Rock on the right bank of Rock 
River, near where the Chicago & 
Northwestern Railroad now cros- 
ses, and now a part of the present 
city of Janesville. On our return 
to Milwaukee with the new city 
in embryo, and with the glowing 
description of the beautiful Rock 
River country, all eyes along the 
lake were turned in that direction. 
Janes of Racine made his way 
out, and, I think, bought John 
Holmes' claim on the left bank of 
the river, where the Meyer's house 
now stands, and when the land 
was surveyed and sold, purchased 
it, and platted and named it 
Janesville. As -to the time of 
Holmes going up into your coun- 
try I will refer you to Mrs. Kate 
Atwood of Janesville, and Robert 
Kennedy of St. Paul, who are the 
only 2 (two) in that early settle- 
ment of this state in the Rock 
River valley. 

Robert Kennedy was a brother 
of T. A. Holmes' first wife. From 
either of them I think you can 
ascertain T. A. Holmes' residence 
which, I believe, is in Alabama. 
I should have replied to your 
note soonei but have been absent 
on a survey, 

Mr. Jones, and would so far 
contradict his assertion that no 
settlements were known above 
Rockford, 111. It must be re- 
membered, that during the 
Black Hawk War (1832) the 
Rock River Valley had been 
considerably marched over by 
the volunteers, and that they 
had been encamped on the 
Catfish Creek, which enters 
Rock River about ten miles 
above Janesville. 

By the Government. 

See letter of Mrs. Atwood, 

Mr. Kennedy died at St. 

222 P10!?EERS. 

If I have written anything to 
help you along with your history 
I shall be thankful, and excuse 
a 79 year correspondent. 
Truly yours 

MiLO Jones. 

P. S. — I think you may safely 
say T. A. Holmes was the Pio- 
neer of the Rock River Valley in 
this state. 

Notwithstanding this P. S. 
I was strongly inclined to 
doubt Mr. Thomas A. Holmes' 
residence at or near Janesville, 
until assured by the letter of 
his sister. 

The doubt was reasonable enough, first on account of the let- 
ter of Mr. McGregor, and second on account of a map of Milwau- 
kee supposing to represent the situation of that place in 1836, in 
which there is put down the house of Thomas Holmes on what 
must have been Lot 1, of Section 29 of Township 7 North, Range 
22 East. The house was situated on the eastside of East Water 
Street and but little south of Wisconsin Street. 

On the same day that Mr. Milo Jones wrote the above letter, 
the following letter was written by Mr. McGregor: 

Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 26th, 1887. 
L. Kessinger, Esq., Alma, Wisconsin. 

Dear Sir:. — In reply to your favor of 25th inst., I have to say 
that Thomas A. Holmes settled in Milwaukee in 1835 and built a 
frame dwelling on what is now iEast Water Street about No. 382; 
and this is said to have been the first frame dwelling erected in 
what is now the city of Milwaukee. See Buck's Pioneer History 
of Milwaukee, Vol. 1. page 24. He is thought to have left here in 
1839. His present location, (if still alive), is not known. 

Very truly yours 

John P. McGeegob, 
Prest. Mil. Co. Pioneer Association. 
This letter does not require any special remarks^ It confirms 
in part the remarks made on the letter of Mr. Milo Jones, but 
seems to contradict the following letter of Mrs. Atwood. As Presi- 
dent McGregor is, however, not positive as to the' removal of Mr. 
Holmes from Milwaukee, the different statements may easily be 



Letter of Mrs. C. A. Atwood or 
Mrs. Volney Atwood : 

Janesville, June 12, 1887. 
Mr. Kessinger: 

Your letter written June 2d, 
directed to Mrs. Kate Atwood., and 
by no one claimed, was finally 
brought up to me. After reading 
the contents I concluded it was 
intended for rae although that is 
not my name. It was once Cath- 
erine A. Holmes, and is now Mrs. 
Volney Atwood. However I will 
endeavor to give all the informa- 
•tion I can. I had five brothers 
who came here, and around here, 
in thirty-five and four of them 
are dead. Thomas A. Holmes is 
all that lives, and he is now in 
his 84th year. He never lived in 
Rock-Port, but lived just opposite, 
in or on his claim, that he called 
St. George, opposite (probably 
adjacent to) St. George Rapids, 
Rockport being situated on the 
west side (right bank) of Rock 
River, and the other on the south 
side (left bank after a turn west.) 
Their families arrived here the 
1st of May, 1836. Some of my 
brothers came in 1835, Thomas 
was one of them; but his family 
did not come until '86. Previ- 
ously he lived in Milwaukee. Mr. 
Janes arrived at his claim with 
his family on the 19th of May, 
1836. He was here in January, 
and made his claim. He never 
had any share in Rockport, and 


The first impulse of a lady 
might be to resent a supposed 
offence to her dignity; but the 
supposed rnisdirection was 
nothing more, nor less, than 
the stumbling of that bright 
and shining light of intelligent 
civil service, the pQstmaster of 
Janes ville. 

Of Mrs. Atwood 's .^i;e broth- 
ers four ar« named in Mr. 
Jones' letter. William died at 
Jordan, Scott Co., Minn., after 
a residence of about 16 years 
in Rockport — Janesville or its 

This settles the presence of 
Thomas A. Holmes at or near 
Janesville, but not the more 
injportant points, when and 
why he left there. 

This has reference to the ex- 
pedition described by Mr. 

In regard to Mr. Janes of 
Racine, I am inclined to de- 
pend on Mr. Milo Jones, for 
explanation of his so-called 
claini. It is njogt pjrobable 



that John Holmes did not con- 
sult his sister in making sales 
and purchases. 

never owned anything on the 
westside (right bank) of Rock 
River; his claim was on the east 
side (left bank) of the river. My 
father's family lived in Rockport; 
three years, and then moved on: 
his farm, one mile from Rock- 
port. I am the youngest of the 
family and have remained here 
ever since. If this is of any ac- 
count, you are entirely welcome. 
Please remember that I do not 
answer to the name of Kate. 

Catherine A. Atwood, 
or Mrs. Volney Atwood. 
Having now marshaled up all the obtainable evidence in the 
matter I shall try to give a connected sketch of the life of Mr. 
Thomas A. Holmes. It is stated, probably on his own assertion, 
which we have no reason to doubt, that he was born in Pennsyl- 
vania in March 1804. Whether Thomas was the oldest of thq five 
sons of the family we can not tell, but we know that he was eight 
years older than his brother William, who was, born in Marion, 
Ohio, in July 1812. This fact indicates that the family had moved 
West into. the northwestern part of Ohio. Whether they moved 
any further during the next twenty-three years we can not tell, 
but at the end of that time we find four of the members of the 
family at Milwaukee, and the next year down at Rockport and St. 
George, all of which is now included within the city of Janesville, 
in the county of Rock, in this state. From the letter of Mr. Milo 
Jones it appears, that the land on Rock River claimed by 
Thomas A. Holmes and his brothers was not yet surveyed by 
the government and could therefore not be purchased. The land 
in that vicinity was offered for sale to private purchasers in 1839, 
at which time, according to the statement of Mrs. Atwood, her 
father's family moved on their farm about one mile from Rockport. 
At the same time Mr. Janes laid out his claim on the left bank of 
Rock River, which he had about three years before purchased of 
John Holmes, and called his new city by the name of Janesville. 


We find, also, that in the same year Thomas A. Holmes attempted 
togo up the Mississippi to the mouth of the St. Croix River, but was 
detained at the mouth of Waumandee Creek by the ice. Several 
circumstances then indicate, that he must have sold out his claim, 
or property at St. George or St. George Rapids, now within the 
limits of the city of Janesville. He could not have undertaken 
to make the voyage without considerable means, nor could he have 
begun his settlement and trading-post at the place of his detention 
without such means. The party consisted of thirteen persons. 
We know that Holmes had a family and that his wife was a sister 
of Robert Kennedy, who probably also had a family. How many, 
if any, children there were in each family we do not know, but we 
find from an interview with Mr. John Adam Weber, that in 1840 
Holmes' first wife left him, and that he afterwards married a girl 
of Wabasha's band of Sioux Indians. Weber positively asserts 
that he never knew Mr. Holmes' first wife, and that she had left 
the trading post at Holmes' I sanding, or as it was then called by 
the Indians Wah-ma-dee, som« time before he, (Weber) arrived 
there. It is very probable that her brother, Robert Kennedy left 
before her. All the parties whom I had a chance to consult with 
in regard to the particulars of the life of Thomas Holmes, himself in- 
cluded, were persistently silent on this one point, and so, after nearly 
half a century since the event took place, it may be well to imitate 
thdr example. Concerning the rival trading establishment of 
Major Hatch at the Wah-ma-dee, commonly ca,lled Holmes' Lan- 
ding, Mr. Weber knows nothing, and, as Mr. Holmes' own state- 
ment does not express more than an intention on the part of the 
Major, it must be left to conjecture what there was of it, and how 
long it continued. 

The fact that Holmes married an Indian woman being estab- 
lished, a curiosity as to who she was must be excusable. Not 
putting too much faith in individual remembrances, I consulted 
the " History of Winona County " published in 1883, written by a 
number of gentlemen, all, or most of them, at the time of the pub- 
lication residents of Winona either of the city, or the county. It 
is unfortunate that the different articles of that book were not as- 
signed, by name to each of the different authors. The one who 
wrote the chapter on earliest settlement, or perhaps the pre-histor- 
c al times^- must have been as confused in his recollections as in 


his English style. Wabasha and hjs residence on the Winona 
Prairie, the gradual withdrawal to Minnesota City or RoUingstone 
Valley, and finally to the site of the present city of Wabasha, one 
can deduce from that chapter as well as the operations of La Bath 
and his subordinates and the doings of the last but one of the 
chiefs of the name of Wabasha. Something is also related of 
Thomas Holmes and of Major Hatch, sonie trivial occurrences, 
which must have happened in the life of every trader. The Reeds, 
Charles and James, two Kentuckians, who contrasted themselves 
with the mercurial Frenchmen and Canucks of French and other 
extractions by the absence of blunter, and a cool contempt of dan- 
ger, are also mentioned. We-no-na, called the oldest sister of Wa- 
basha, in reality his first cousin, was married to James Reed, the 
same who is mentioned in the chapter on Indians as having been 
unable to learn the 0-chunk-o-rah or Winnebago language. Of 
this James Reed it is related, that once he remarked that it must 
have been a very poor dog,? for which Prairie du Chien had been 
named, and in retaliation for this sage remark, the principal tra- 
der at the Prairie, probobly Lockwood or Dickinson addressed the 
letters which he sent to Reed by steamboats as follows; " Mr. 
James Reed at the Rattlesnake Bluff," when that gentleman kept 
his trading post at what is now Trempealeau village. His wife had 
a daughter, but whether of him or some former husband, I could 
not find out. This daughter's name was Witch-e-ain, whose beauty 
and virtue are described in glowing colors. It is unnecessary to 
repeat it here, especially as it is impossible to learn from the story 
whether or not the girl was really married to Thomas Holmes, al- 
though this is more than probable, and I am inclined to consider 
it as certain. In a treaty of 1837 the Sioux had surrendered their 
land east of the Mississippi to the United States, but continued to 
reside on the adjoining west side, while they still roamed over the 
land ceded, though it was considered by the Chippewas and Win- 
nebagoes as neutral ground, into which they all ventured occsion- 
ally. Numerous batttles were the result. It would have been 
highly impolitic for a trader at this posttomarry into either of the 
two other nations. 

There is some confirmation of Mr. Weber's assertion in Mr. 
Holmes' removal from the Wah-ma-dee trading post up the river 
right into the heart of the Dakote country. The " History of W 


nona " says he moved to Shookpay, a place which I have been 
unable to find, though it may have existed, and still exist under 
another name. I was at first inclined to consider it a corruption 
of Shakopee and to think that Mr. Holmes settled at that place 
immediately after leaving Wisconsin. The fact is that he sold but 
his establishment at the Wah-ma-dee to Henry Gcehrke and Adam 
Weber in 1846 and moved up the river, evidently > intending to 
continue his trade with the Indians. It is not' irnprobable, that 
for a while he did not settle down. But according to Neill's His- 
tory of Minnesota he was elected a member of the first territorial 
legislature of Minnesota, from the 6th district, and was at that 
time living at Sauk Rapids. This was in 1849, only about three 
years after he had left Holmes' Landing. Although there were 
then but few people living in that country, it is still improbable 
that a rnan would have been elected to that position, who had not 
been a resident long enough to be known and appreciated, which 
would take two or three years. It is, therefore, reagonable to sup^ 
pose, that Sauk Rapids or neighborhood, was the first permanent 
station of Mr. Holmes after he had left Wisconsin. 

Next after this we find him at Shakopee. Above I have given 
a quotation from the Minnesota Atlas concerning his relations to 
that town. It continues: "An original pioneer by instinct and 
habit, he kept ahead of the railroads for many years, enjoying the 
excitements of frontier life. He came here to trade with the 
Indians, but they being soon removed, he concluded to start a 
town, and has ever since remained a permanent citizen. When the 
county -seat was located at Shakopee, he and D. L. Puller donated 
the land needed for the purpose. In the same relations as to 
Shakopee Mr. Holmes stood to 

the county seat of Carver County, Minnesota, except that he never 
resided there permanently. 

The often quoted Minnesota Atlas says in regard to the early 
history of' that place: " The village was platted and recorded in 
1852. Thomas A. Holmes and George Fuller were the original 

What imay have induced Mr. Holmes in his old age to leave 
a place in which he' was, according to the statement of Mr. C, A. 
Stevens, a general favorite, and probably well enough to do, I can 


not imagine, unless it was his indomitable restlessness, which led 
him away from so many places, that are now much larger than 
any new place in Alabama will be in a century from date. One 
should, in looking over the map of Milwaukee in 1836, think, that 
it must have been wild, enough, to look at, just then; how it now is 
we need not add. Janesville with its 10,000 inhabitants, its splen- 
did situation for all kinds of manufacturing establishments, is also 
a place one might regret to have left. There are St. Paul and Min- 
neapolis, which offered the very best of chances when Mr. Holmes 
left Wisconsin. Shakopee, also, I have been told, is a very agree- 
able place, though it will probably never be a very large one. I 
have to mention the fact that Mr. Holmes stopped at Fountain 
City, once at least, since he had left it, when it was called Holmes' 
Landing. Mr. Weber, who could not have been mistaken in the 
man, states that he saw and recognized him there at that time. 
The life of Thomas A. Holmes was certainly eventful enough to 
make it interesting, but to us it is much more so on account of his 
prolonged residence at the mouth of the Waumandee Creek, thus 
giving the first start to Fountain City. There can not be many 
more years for the old piouicr, and I know every one of my read- 
ers will concur in the wish, that he may pass them in peace and 
prosperity, and find an easy transition to eternal repose. 


The next in point of time- of our pioneers was John Adam 
Weber, a native of Waldmichelbach in the Grand Duchy of 
Hesse-Darmstadt, now a part of the Empire of Germany. As he 
was born in 1821 he must have been quite young, when he emi- 
grated, since he came to Holmes' Landing with his brother Frank 
Weber in the fall of 1840, about a year after Mr. Holmes had ar- 
rived there. The two brothers Weber chopped and banked as 
much wood on the islands as they possibly could, perhaps with 
the assistance of a yoke or two of oxen. In the summer, Mr. 
Weber says, we had nothing to do but to watch for steamboats, for 
the purpose of getting money, or the value of it in provisions and 
other necessaries, for our wood. I imagine that at that time this 
watching must have been a very tedious job, to say nothing of the 
peculiar annoyances connected with it, since steamboats upon this 
part of the jiver were indeed " few and far between." Calculating 
the season at 32 weeks, the steamboats at 40 trips up and as umny 


down, there was, on an average little more than one boat a week, 
but as their passage was quite irregular, constant watching was 
required. Provisions and other things were bought at Galena, 
which at that time, and for more than twenty years later, was the 
grand depot, first for the squatters, and then for the settlers of this 
region. Mr. Weber and his brother made their annual visits to 
that place, from which they had originally come to Holmes' Land- 
ing. In 1845 they met there Henry Goehrke, and persuaded him 
to come up with them to their residence, and in pursuance of this 
visit they seem to have, in company with Goehrke, bought out 
Mr. Holmes and afterwards have carried on his establishment on 
their own account. Mr. Weber says, that he afterwards resided 
for some time at Galena but this can not have been for a long 
period, since we find him to have bought Lot No. 6 of Section 8 
of Township 19, Range 11, the land on which the principal part 
of Fountain City is laid out, on the 11th day of July, 1849, on the 
same day that Christi n Wengert bought the adjoining Lot No. 1 
of Section 17 of the same township and range. This was the first 
land purchased of the government within the limits of Bufialo 
County, the purchase being made at the land-office at Mineral 
Point, about three weeks after the land had come into market. 
After that time Mr. Weber must have been living about 20 years 
in Fountain City (six years of it in Holmes' Landing), as he says he 
was 15 years on his farm in the Eagle Valley (Creek Thai,) and 
three years in Winona. Of the 20 years he was 9 years and four 
months janitor of the public schools at Fountain City. In point 
of the length of residence in this county there will be few or none 
to excel him at present. The brother of Mr. Weber, who had 
come with him to Holmes Landing afterwards went to California 
where he died. Another brother, Peter Weber, much younger, 
went to the war in. Company H of the sixth Wisconsin Infantry, 
and died at Frederick, Maryland, of wounds received in the battle 
of Antietam. 

Adam Weber was a justice of the peace in the Town of Eagle 
Mills 1859. 


was born on the 4th day of October, 1809, at Abtenrode in the 
Electorate of Hessen, Germany. According to dates furnished by 
Mrs. Bodenstab, formerly Mrs, Goehrke, he caroe to this country 


in 1845, about which time he must have come to Galewa, wherehe 
made the acquaintance of Adam Weber and was by] him per- 
suaded to come up to Holmes' Landing, where they bought out Mr. 
Holmes and began to trade with the Indians on their own account. 
In 1847 Goehrke was married. He continued in the same busi- 
ness until 1854 when he sold out to Henry Teckenburg. In the 
same year he built the sawmill on Waumandee Creek about two 
miles above Fountain City at the so-called Milldam. At first 
Frederick Binder was associated with him, and afterwards Ferdi- 
nan Fetter and Ferdinand Mehrmann. The latter being a prac- 
tical machinist, they erected the Eagle Mill, of which the sawmill 
was only a dependence of little importance. Goehrke, although 
called a butcher, never engaged in the butchering business at 
Fountain City. He died at that place on the oth day of Septem- 
ber 1863. He had the reputation of liberality and fairness in his 
dealings and as a patron of every enterprise which seemed likely 
to benefit the place. Mrs. Goehrke, though not the first white 
woman to settle, was the first one to remain for ever after her ar- 
rival in this county. From the history of Winona County it ap- 
pears that Thomas A. Holmes among other things kept a sort of 
tavern, and Mr. Goehrke after he had succeeded to Mr. Holmes' 
business, continued that practice, this being the only place of the 
kind between Wabasha and La Crosse. 

The next arrivals known of having landed at Holmes', as it 
was called for short, were sturdy sons of the Alps, both from the 
Canton of Grisons, Switzerland. They were: 

ist. Andrew Baertsch who with his family arrived at Holmes' 
Landing .in October 1847. 

2d. Nicholas Liesch with his wife and family early in 1848. 

In 1848 in the month of November, Caspar Wild, a soldier of 
the Mexican war, came up and found the last named, his country- 
men,' though not from the same canton, already present. 

Christian Wenger, also a Swiss, of the Canton of Bern, must 
have arrived at the place about the same time, since- he purchased 
part of the townsite in July of the following year. 

At about the same time there were at Twelve Mile Bluff, now 
Alma, the following persons; all of th^m from Switzerland: 

1. Victor' Prdbstj from Biberist ia the Gaaton* of Soleure a 
carpenter ot joiner by trade. 


2. Joseph Berni of the same place, a cooper by trade, a sol- 
dier of the Mexican war. 

3. John C. Waecker from Unter-Hallau in the Canton of 

Neither of these three had at that time any family, and Berni 
used to make fun of their isolation. 

The above named persons having thus as the earliest perma- 
nent settlers, become prominent in the history of this county, we 
will give a short sketch of the life of each, as far as known. 


was born at Trimis Canton of Grisons in Switzerland in the year 
1824. He married in 1844 and emigrated to the United States in 
1846 where he settled for the time at Galena, 111. and came to 
Holmes' Landing, in the fall of 1847. He supported' himself at 
that place by the sale of wood to steamboats, like all, or most of 
the residents. Provisions and. other necessaries had to be pro- 
cured from Galena, to which place every year two visits had to be 
made. In spring 1853 he moved upon his farm in a sidevalley of 
the Eagle Creek Valley, where he has ever since resided. He 
raised and decently supported a numerous family of children, ten 
of whom are living, two having died His son Anton was the first 
child of white parents born in this county. Andrew Baertsch is 
honest and fearless, and he and his whole family enjoy the respect 
of their neighbors, among whom they have been so many years in 
uninterrupted mutual content and good feeling. 

Andrew Baertsch, senior, as he is now called, to distinguish him 
from his son of the same given name, was elected to the office of 
Justice of the Peace and other offices in his town, in which he 
performed his duties to satisfaction, but for which he never 
otherwise cared much. 


or, as he was familiarly called, Claus Liesch, was born at Schiers 
in the Canton of Grisons in Switzerland in the year 1820 and came 
to this country in 1846, stopping for a time at Galena. Having 
been a near neighbor to And. Baertsch in the old country, he 
soon followed him to Holmes' Landing with his wife, his daughter 
Magdalena, and his son Anton, where he was present at the time 
Caspar Wild arrived in November 1848. After several years res- 
idence in Holmes' Landing Liesch removed to a place farther up 


the river towards the head of what is known as Pomme-de-Terre 
Slough where he laid out the Village of Buffalo, and in company 
with one Sharp the City of Belvidere, both of which have since 
been vacated. It was at this place he was living in 1859 when I 
became acquainted with him. His business was still selling wood 
to steamboats. When in 1862 the twenty-fifth regiment of Wis- 
consin Infantry was formed, Liesch enlisted in the same and served 
in Company K. He died in 1863 of dysentery, while the regi- 
ment was stationed near Helena, Ark., in the neighborhood of 
which place he is buried with a great number of his comrades and 
old neighbors. 


was born in 1815 at Wattenwyl in t Canton of Berne, Switzeiland. 
He must have emigrated when quite young, and being of an ad- 
venturous turn of mind, he roved into Texas and the western ter- 
ritories, where he chased the Buffalo. Afterwards he stayed in 
Highland, 111., where he was in the service of the Koepfle Bros., 
Joseph and Solomon. Besides doing his work, he indulged very 
often in the excitement of chasing the deer, which were at that 
period quite numerous in that neighborhood. Exactly at what 
time Wenger left Highland, and began his expedition up the 
Mississippi, we can not now tell. But he followed his countrymen 
Baertsch and Liesch from Galena to Holmes' Landing. He did not 
enlist in the Mexican war, which is somewhat to be wondered at, 
as he has always been proud of his excellent marksmanship. Up 
to Holmes' Landing he must have come in 1848, since in July of 
the following year he bought the land designated as Lot No. 1 of 
Sec. 17, T. 19, R. 11, the same on which the residence of Hon. A. 
Finkelnburg and a number of other buildings now stand. In 1854 
he was married to Ursula Miller, daughter of John Mueller (Engel- 
hans) of Belvidere and soon after he removed to Alma, which 
place he helped to found, being one of the proprietors of Probst 
and Wenger's Addition, consisting of Blocks 23, 24 and 25. On 
Block 24 there are now Boehme's and Tritch's stores, on Block 24 
the Sherman House and other brick buildings. On Block 25 is the 
Court House, the old school house etc. Soon after the founding of 
Alma Wenger moved upon, his farm in Section 28, Township 22 
Range 12, in which section he owned 360 acres, besides quite a 
number of forties in adjoining sections. Here he carried on farm- 


ing, occasionally indulging in his old passion of hunting. He is 
living. there yet, but is now sick, Hnd feehle with old age. Chris- 
tian "Wenger, in cominon with most passionate hunters, is gifted 
with a lively imagination, especially in regard to his favorite sport. 
He is honest and straight-forward, peaceable and obliging, and 
much respected by his neighbors. His large family of children 
are now all grown up and some of them have children of their own. 


From an extract of the register of baptism of the parochial 
church of Bieberist, Canton of Soleure, Switzerland, I find that the 
subject of this sketch, Urs Victor Prpbst was born on the 14th day 
of February 1815, in the place named- An itinerary and passport^ 
issued in German and French, stillin excellent preservation, as is, 
also, the above cited certificate of birth, shows that Probst entered 
upon the life of an itinerant journeyman "cabinet maker on the 
9th day of May 1833. Most Americans and the younger genera- 
tion of Germans have no conception of this itinerary episode of a 
craftsman or mechanic and as this occasion is one which seems to 
require the appropriate explanation, I will give it. A mechaiiic 
of any kind had to serve an apprenticeship of three yeWrs, and 
after having been duly absolved of this obligation, he became a 
companion journey-man. If he aspired to the title and the priv- 
ileges of a master, among which the right to establish himself on 
his own account in his trade or business was ihe. rhbst important, 
he had to travel for at least three yea,rs on his trade, wbfking 
wherever he fotind employment, as long as it Stilted him, or his 

services were wanted. 

1*0 keep a cohtrol over this peregrination ah ititiei-ary was 
handed to the traveling mechanic, which he was obliged to carry 
with him wlien traveling, to sliow to .policemen and geiisdarines at 
their request, and to deposit with the local chief of police, wher- 
eve'r he wished to stay or work, or in any considerable place 
through whicli he passed. He was allowed to chooBe his oWn 
route, but it being once entered of record in his passbook, he was 
not allowed to change it, except for good and sufficient reasons, or 
in case of having worked in an intermediate place on his route. 
These were the general ideas of the system, the caUse oif this 
journeying being originally to compel those mechanics who would 
;r>ot of their own impulse try to improve their acquirements by 


working among and learning from strangers, to do so. Guilds and 
their privileges having been almost everywhere abolished, this 
traveling is no longer compulsory. But to return to Victor Probst, 
we find that after traveling a little over a year he returned home, 
and in 1814, March 15th, passed through Basel on his way to 
Havre, where he embarked on the 23d of the same month. Of 
his adventures in America before he settled down at the Twelve 
Mile Bluffs we know nothing, and I am inclined to think that they 
were not much to his taste, for it is otherwise scarcely compre- 
hensible, how a man in his best years, a skilful mechanic, and of 
a clear and liberal mind, could have been content to live in a 
place so lonesome as the one 'named above must haive been at 
that time. At exactly what time he settled here is uncertain, but 
it is certain that his countryman Joseph Berni could not have ar- 
rived before 1848 as he was in the Mexican war. In 1853 Victor 
Probst entered Lots 1 , 2, 3 and 4 of Sect. 2 Tshp. 21 R'ge 13 in 
the month of October, 14 days after the land had come into mar- 
ket, about the same time when Christian Wenger entered Lot 1, of 
Sect. 11, Tshp. 21, Rge. 13. These purchases were evidently niade 
with a view to laying out a townplat, which was done in 1855, 
when he and W. H. Gates laid out the plat of Alma. Afterward 
Victor Probst's Addition and Probst and Weriger's Addition were 
added. In the same year Victor was joined by his brother Franz 
Martin Probst and his family. In the course of time Victor Probst 
accumulated considerable real estate including the West Half of 
the Northwest Quarter of Section 1 of Tshp. 21, Rge. 13 and 
many pieces of valuable woodland in the islands about Beef 
Slough, in the sections west of it, , near its confluence with thle 
IVSssissippi. Mr. Probst was by no means indolent, nor a spend- 
thrift, but being a bachelor, and not specially attached to any- 
body, he grew in time negligent and indifferent of his money and 
other possessions, and did not leave much of wordly goods, thougli 
he never was in real want or indigence. He died on the 2d day 
of April 1882. 

There is one nephew, Ottmar, the son of Martin Probst liv- 
ing in this place, and there are in this county the" children of his' 
other brother, Urs, who died as a soldier of the 25th Regiment of 
Wis. Inf. at Madison of sickness. 

All three brothers were exeeljent mechanics. Martin was a 


turner in wood and ivory, Urs was a wagon-maker. 

A characteristic trait of Victor Probst is the preservation of 
thedocuments above referred to, one of which, his itinerary or 
passbook, being now 54, the other 46 years old, and still as clean 
and entire as on the day when they were made out. 


was, like Victor Probst and his brothers, born in the parish of 
Biberist in the Canton of Soleure, Switzerland. He learned the 
trade of a cooper and traveled on it in the manner related in the 
history of V. Probst. Among the countries he visited on that 
errand he has often named to me the strip between the Rhine and 
the Black Forest from Basel northwards to Freiburg (Baden). In 
that part of the Grand-Duchy the celebrated Markgrafler wine is 
grown and abundant. Of Berni's adventures and experiences in 
this country we know nothing until his enlistment in the array at 
the time of the Mexican war. Of that he often spoke, and accord- 
ing to his statement he was in the city of Mexico. After the dis- 
bandment of the army of volunteers he received his honorable dis- 
charge and probably his land warrant. He came to the Twelve 
Mile Bluff in 1849, probably from Galena, where he fell into the 
company of Victor Probst and possibly of John C. Waecker. They 
were all three unmarried, and Berni, who was always ready for fun, 
used to speak about the lonesomeness and other trials of their 
solitary life in a very amusing manner. After a while he settled on 
the Southwest Quarter of Section 9, Township 20, Range 12, one of 
the most desirable locations in the county, about half-ways between 
Alma and Fountain City, and two miles east of Buffalo City by the 
road. The purchase was made partly in October 1855 and partly 
in January 1856. The schoolhouse site situated between the Alma 
and Fountain City and the Probst Valley Roads was sold to School 
District No. 1 of the Town of Belvidere in the earlier part of 1866, 
the whole quarter section being on the 21st of October of said year 
sold to Henry Klein for the sum of $2600. While on his land, on 
which he probably lived before entering it, Berni was married, and 
after the sale of the land he returned to his former habitation at 
Alma. They tell a story on him relating to his residence in the 
town of Belvidere. Berni had been elected justice of the peace. 
A neighbor was owing him some money, and in virtue of the power 
in him vested by the laws of the State of Wisconsin, as he under- 


stood it, he summoned the negligent debtor before his own courtj 
passed judgment in his own favor and was only prevented from 
levying execution by some one, I think it was Jacob Bronnenkant 
of Fountaia City, expostulating with him on the error of his pro- 

In Alma Berni built himself a shanty on a hill, both of which 
have since disappeared, but were close to the present railroad de- 
pot. In the lower part of the ravine north of his shanty he bega,n 
to manufacture brick, which he probably continued for three years, 
when, his money being gone, he had to quit the busiuess. After- 
wards he supported himself and his family by teaming. He died in 
1878 and left quite a family, all of whom are now grown up. He 
was very honest, but also very improvident. In the laying out of 
Alma and its additions he had no part or interest. 


Of this one of the early pioneers I know more than of most of 
the others. I. did not know him in the old country, although by 
accident I might have seen him when we were boys. John C. 
Waecker was born in UnterhallaUj Canton of Schaffhau,sen, Switz- 
erland. He was left an orpha,n or otherwise unprotected, and was 
educated at an institute under the control of some missionary so- 
ciety at the village of Buch, less then two English miles from the 
birthplace of the author of this book. The education he received 
at that place was probably limited to conamon elementary branches, 
and not much enlarged by his subsequent transfer to another of 
similar character at Beuggen near Basel. His experience from 
that place to the Twelve Mile Bluff we do not know, but it appears 
that he had parted from the missionaries and their labors, and 
learned to think and live like other mortals. He was some- 
what eccentric and unreliable. His land he selected in Sec- 
tions 19 and 30, of Township 21, Range 12, about 4 miles be- 
low Alma, between the bluffs and the slough and erected upon it 
a claim shanty, over which in course of tirqe the government 
surveyors ran a section line. He built his house near the line 
again, hut entirely north of it, In 1853 he married Sabina Kellpr. 
This was one of the earliest marriages consumma,ted in Belvidere. 
Wrecker lived on his first farm until 1872, whe^ he bought the 
property of Henry l^eukpnim, about one mile nearer to Alma. He 
remained upon that until 1879, when he reniov«d to Ada, Norman 

^lOKBKl^S. $.07 

COiUQty J Miflije^ota, where He died in consequence of a, Ii:ick froQTi 
a U-prsein the year 1885. He left two daughters and one son. 


He was born at Gossau, Cantoil of Zurich, Switzerland, ipthe 
year 1815. He is therefore now 72 years of ^ge. Of his life before 
he settled in. th,is country, we know b,ijt little. He eplisted in the 
yolunteer army fpr the war with Mexico, and after the disband- 
ment of that army came ta Galenaj ai^d soon after to Holmes' Lan- 
ding, where he arrived on the 7th of November 1848. He found 
in that place Henry Goekrke, Adam Web^r, Andrew Baertsch and 
Claus Liesch, the two last named being his countrymen. He re- 
r^m.oved from the settleipent about three miles to the southeast 
locating nej^r his present place of residence, the well-known Stone 
House, at the angle of the river, where it turns for about three 
miles straight towards Winona. Here he maintained hiri(iself and 
re?i,i;ed his family by dint of hard work. During last spring Ije 
made application for and received bis pension as a. veteran of the 
Mexican war. He was undoubtedly the first settler in the preseijt 
town of Buffalo, although he did not enter any land previous to 
1854, at which time, and soon after, he enteijed land, in Sections 23, 
26, 27, a^d35ofTowns,hip 19, Ranige 11. , 


The foregoing were the most genei;ally known of the pipneers 
of Buffalo Coijnty, being for the most part connected with the two 
central points of settlement, Holmes' Landing, now Fftuntain City, 
i^n.d Twelve Mile Bluff, now Alma. Of pioneers located in the up- 
per part of the county before it attained political existence I 
remember but one, Madison Wright of Mi^ouri, who located in 
1848, as a squatter upon the land that was afterwards owned by 
A,ndrew Wright, his brother, ^ho did not, however, reside upon it. 
Tl^e situation of it is in Section 11, Township 22, Range 14, oppo- 
site Wabasha, a short distance above the ferry landing. The land 
was entered in 1858. In 1868 when I surveyed the land of Mr. 
Wright, he wa? an old gentleman, living in aloghouse in primitive 
wood-caii^p style, nor do I think l^e ever departed from this until 
his death on the 19th of August, 1879. The place of his residence 
bfing somewhat, separated fropa, though situated in the town of 
Nelson, litadison Wright never rneddled much in the politics of 
b.ia tOTn or the county, being more attached to Wabasha. He 


lived aad died a bachelor. It is a remarkable fact that after his 
death an account for burial expenses, coffin etc., was presented to 
the county of Buffalo by the firm of Lueger Bros, of Wabasha 
which account was rejected as a piece of impudence, since it was 
well known, that,, if Madison Wright had really died in poverty, it 
was because he had spent all of his means at Wabasha, or had 
been done out of them by boon-companions or others of that place. 
General Remarks on Pioneers. 
The name of pioneex is mostly synonym with first permanent 
settlers, though occasionly persons who merely make a temporary 
stay for some purpose in an unsettled country are called by the 
same name. In the latter sense we might claim the early French 
as pionpers, though they never intended to be such. Indeed they 
did little or no pioneer work, and all theii attempted settlements 
or actual trading posts have disappeared from this neighborhood, 
although traces of them remain in some names, as for instance: 
Prairie du Chien, La Crosse, Trempe-a-l'-eau, Eau Claire, Pepin, 
Frontenac, St. Croix, St. Paul and a whole number of others too 
tedious to mention. The French were adventurers, which is not 
to be wondered at, as the country itself had passed out of the pos- 
session of their nation 130 years ago, and they could not hope to 
build up a French community, colony or state. It was similar 
with Englishmen or Scotchmen after 1783. Entirely 
was with Americans of every description Yankees, Southerners or 
from the Middle States. And it is true that Americans after a 
while were very efficient pioneers. At first, however, they assimi- 
lated themselves much with Frenchmen, English "and Scotch ad- 
venturers, and even Thomas A. Holmes, considered as the pioneer 
of this county, was rather an adventurer, who left after the situa- 
tion ceased to answer his purpose. The real pioneers of our county 
those, who stayed and opened roads, built bridges, cultivated 
lands, founded homesteads for themselves and induced others to 
come and do the same, were Germans or Swiss of German nation- 
ality. I do not mention this because they were of the same na- 
tionality with myself, but simply as a matter of fact. Neither do 
I wish to say they were the pioneers of every town of the county, 
since some of the towns were settled much later than the county 
as a whole. 

In the above biographies, which are all tliat could be given at 


so much length, I have endeavored to find the most reliable sour- 
ces of information, of which gossip or tradition is none, although 
this also must be consulted. A few of the pioneers are yet alive, 
and others I had known for many years previous to their death, 
and so the chances were not entirely unfavorable, although the 
compilation of the present chapter was slow and tedious work. 

Of others, such as came a few years later, perhaps invited or 
attracted by pioneers or their friends, I propose to say a few words 
in the separate historical sketch of every town, and names of all 
the early settlers who reported, or of whom I had the necessary 
information by other means, will be found in the list, at the end 
of this history. 

Of arrivals during the year 1850 I could obtain no connected 
intelligence. In 1851 the town of Belvidere, then, of course in- 
cluding the City of Buffalo, seeras to have been the most favor- 
ed region for settlement. As the banks of the river began to fill 
up with population, the newcomers began to penetrate farther into 
the interior, and after the organization of the county towns began 
to form rapidly, all of which will be found in the chapter on "Or- 
ganization." The annexed table will give a summary of the forma- 
tion of towns, which to a certain extent and especially in earlier 
times is indicative of the progress of settlement: 


The whole county was included in .the town of Buffalo. 


The town of Belvidere was organized Febr. 5. 


The towns oi Alma and Waumandee were set off March 3d, 
organized at next town meeting. 


The following towns were set off: 

Bear Creek, (cont. T. 23 and 24, R. 13 and 14,) March 10. 

Naples, (cont. T. 23 and 24, R. 10 and 11,) March 10. 

Glencoe, (Cold Springs,) June 8. 

Gross, July 20. 

Gihnanton, (Elk Creek, cont. T. 23, R. 10, 13 and E. U2,) 
July 20. 

Nelson, South part of Bear Creek, July 20. 

Bear Creek changed to Bloomington July 20. 

2ib PIONEftRg. 

Mitton, (changed to Eagle Mills 1858,) July 20. 

Madena, NovemDer 12. 

Canton, May 8. Montana, July 8. 


Dover, November 18. 
, i871. 

Lincoln, at the Annual Meeting of the County Board. 
Alterations of towns. or boundairy lines after that date had no 
connection witfi settlements. 



Whether there was any political organization connected with-t 
the supposed civilization of the Mound BuilderSj and iwihat that 
organization -was- or seems to have been,i can not now be told. with 
any certainty.- As we have i no authenticali monument of theic. 
presence within this county, it does not appear.neeesaary to mention 
them in this connection. The discovery o£'Amarica,-aGcomplished ; 
as it was under the Spanish flag seems -to- have, ,accoir.ding to cus- • 
torn and tradition, made all of it- a part of the Kingdom; of Spafaoyi 
at least nominaily.' But iftthe ^country at tbatitime-ljad beeutlost 
to the Spaaiards, and- d-iscoV'ered'by souje.othermation,. it would, 
have been very di-fficult for the former to prov« property, or evear 
possession, for they could hardly have given any description of it,, by 
which it could be- known and recognized.- We find, tberseforei othei 
maritime powers follow; not io. the wake of the Spaaish ships, but 
their example and discover parts of a new -world, to the whole of. 
which Spain, might have laid claim- by right of priority^ ; -But) as 
early as five years after the first landing of Cqlumbus; in the; West 
Indies^ Cabot discovered, under the Englishvflagj^the coast of North;; 
America. Cortereal under Portuguese -flag discovered and. ex- 
plored anotherconsiderai^le partof-the eastern coast of the same- 
continent. - He was followed by the Verrazanis under the French ., 
flag as early as 1523, though 4he French seem to claim that'their 
fishermen visited the bank* of Newfoundland as early as 1&04j Jn 
the mean time the Spaniards, being in possession of the West 
India Islands began to explore the neighboring continent. The 
first seems to have -been Grijalva 1510, but more important was the 
discovery of Florida by Ponce de Leon in 1512, for on this Spain 
founded its subsequent claim to the whole continent. His own 
attempt and that of Narvaez to take possession of and hold in 
subjection that country, as well as the attempt of Ayllou to subdue 
£!hicc>ra (South Carolina"), though abortive still proved this Claimt 


This was strengthened by the expedition of Hermando de Soto in 
1538, the principal result of which was the discovery of the Mis- 
sissippi River in 1541, and the subsequent navigation of his sur- 
viving followers to the mouth of this river. After the failure of 
his expedition we find that for twenty four years nothing of conse- 
quence was attempted in Florida or or any of its dependencies, but 
1565 San Augustin was founded by Melendez. 

But in the mean time the French had sent over Cartier in 
1534. He sailed up the St. Lawrence, spent the winter in Canada 
and discovered and named Montreal island. 

Six years later De la Roque and Cartier tried with but little 
success to plant colonies of French on the St. Jjawrence. Further 
attempts are not on record until 1598, but no success attended the 
different enterprises of the French, whether supported by the 
crown or the Huguenotts, uiitil Samuel Champlain came to Canada 
in 1603, though the first colony of the French was not made by him 
nor on the St. Lawrence but by De Mouts, first at St, Croix Island 
at the mouth of St. Croix River, afterwards at Port Royal, now 
Annapolis, the spot being selected by Poutrincourt, who served 
under him. 

In 1608 Champlain came in the employ of an association of 
private persons, incorporated by the government, and began to 
occupy and improve the present site of Quebec. 

We find therefore, that Spain had made the first permanent 
settlement on what was properly considered the North American 
Continent. The English, whose marine was even then rivalling 
the marines of France and Spain, had not been entirely idle. 
After the discoveries of Cabot an attempt was made to find the 
Northwest Passage by Martin Frobisher, 1576, in which he dis- 
covered on the coast of Labrador what was supposed to be gold, 
which occasioned another expedition 1577, and still another with 
the intention of planting a colony for the purpose of working the 
supposed gold mines. In the mean time Sir Francis Drake had 
explored the Western coast of the continent up to Lat. 43° North 
in 1579. 

In 1579 Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a stepbrother of Sir Walter 
Raleigh, made the first, and 1583 they both sent out a second ex- 
pedition with the intention of colonization. This expedition took 
possession-of Newfoundland for the Queen of England, and on its 


return Sir Humphrey Gilbert was shiipwrecked. Tiie next attempt 
was made, after the_exploration of the coast of Carolina and Al- 
bemarle and Pamlico Sounds in 1584 by Ralph Lane under the 
authority of Raleigh, to plant a colony at Roanoke Island, but in 
1586 the colonists, being in danger of extermination by the Na- 
tives returned with Sir Francis Drake to England. The renewal 
of the attempt in the following year ended in the destruction of 
the colonists. During the next twenty years no serious attempt at 
colonization had been made, though the voyages of Gosnold 1603 
and Pring 1603 and 1606 were undertaken during that period, re- 
sulting in a direct seaway to the North American coast, the dis- 
covery of Massachusetts Bay and a considerable part of the neigh- 
boring coast. Weymouth in 1605 discovered and entered the 
Penobscot River, Though the claims and discoveries of the three 
most important maritime nations overlapped, each other accident- 
ally, it began to appear that: the Spaniards would demand the 
South, the French would insist upon the possession of the North, 
and the English would stake off their claims and posts of occupa- 
tion between them. The following period of general settlement 
verified or justified previous expectations. Though the Spanish 
settlement dates as early as 1565, and the French had one in 1605, 
when the English had as yet none, the number and development 
of their settlements soon exceeded those of other nations both 
in extent, "and prosperity. 

Our purpose cannot be to enter into particulars of the history 
of the English colonies, but we may remark, that from that of 
Jamestown, Virginia, 1607 to which that at Plymouth followed 
1620, that of Boston and other places in Massachusetts soon after, 
until, in 1664 the settlement of the Dutch having been surren- 
dered to them, to the settlement of Georgia by Oglethorpe in 1732, 
the English occupied in numerous strong settlements all the land 
along the Atlantic from the river St. Johns between Florida and 
Georgia as the southern and. the river of the same name, between 
Maine and New Brunswick, a distance to which that occupied at 
that time by either the French or the Spanish is hardly worth 
comparing. All the P]uglish settlements were chartered by the 
government and in most, if not all, of the original charters were 
the utmost western limits of the colonies extended to the Pacific 
ocean, The claim of the Spanish government was limited by the 

244 ' 'WliiTICi^l; HISTORY. 

■same ocean and ntilitnited'towards thehorthi. In a similar man- 
he'i?' the'Pftench'Cohaidei'ed that, de jure, the possession of the St. 
Lawrence River 'and its basin 'and dependencies extended the same 
distance'. ■ The territory noW forming' the' State of Wisconsin was 
involved iU al'l of these conflicting claims'. Its western half be- 
longs Undeniably to th6 valley or basin of the Mississippi, to 
"Which Spain lai'd claim by virtde of the discovery of that river in 
the authorized expedition of De Soto and the possession of the 
adjacfiht'coOntries of Texas atid Florida'. The'same part of coun- 
tlfylies entirely between' the latitudes of 42° 30' and about 47°, or 
the latitude of the present states, at that time colonies, of Massa- 
chiisetty," New York,'Vermont; -New Hampshire, 'and' Maine, and 
'henbfe/ withitt'thc! charter limits Of them 'or'some one 'Or the other. 
Finally, its eastern and northern' part -bdoriged' to the basin 'of the 
Grea:t Lake(s,'the unquestionable dependencies of the St: Lawrence 
System of draihage, to 'which the- Freneh ha'd' established their 
claim by di'Scovery, ^xp'loration; settlement 'and' military posses- 
sion. This was the' position df affairs at the 'time of the earliest 
settlferiients bn thfe' Atlatttic 'doast. 

'■" We find that the first'perma;nent'ocCU^£ltioT^ 'of the Sti' Law- 
rence valley by the' Frfench happened One year after the English 
settlement at JamestoWn, Virginia.' From and after that time they 
secured and exterided their power, at first undter' perpetual oppo- 
sition of the Indians, of which the Iroquois;' (Min'go'es or five Na- 
tions) Wei-e the most ''formidable.' ■ The' company 6f ' Fl'ehchmen, 
o'f whdm Chain plaift' was the" representative and principal' agent, 
soon surrendered theii' charter'to the King'and a royal government 
was 'instituted'. ' The governors extended thte' dominion of' France 
gr'adually and vVe' find that ag '6arly as 1665 there was' a post at 
Mackinaw 'and soOn afte'T there was one' at Green Bay in this State. 
In the yea'r'ie'80 the discoveries of Marquette, Joliet, La Salle' and 
Hehhepih extended the knowledge, if nbt' thS' 'actual pOssegsions, 
of the-Pffen-ch tb thfe Mississippi and its^eadtetri tributaries.* La 
Salle' Weht doWn the riVer tb its mouth, and- although he finally 
return'ed'to Green Bay, Mackinaw and Quebec, he ■Occasioned the 
first voyage from PranCfe'totheMissiBSippi; Though this expedi- 
tion was a failure; arid- disastrous to himself, 'it- must- nevertheless 
becoilSldered as 'a legal acknowledgment of his actiOh in 'Claiming 
the Mississippi' Counti-y for the Crown of France and naming it 


JLouisiana. ' The' latter was soon afteit settled b^ Bienvi'lleat Bi>loxi 
and afterwards at New Orleans, and other places and the claim of 
France to Louisiana, which at that time included the whole basin 
of the Mississippi, remained thereafter undisputed according to 
the law of nations. As far as Wisconsin was cRneerned the claim 
appears thus to have become a double one.' We shall find more 
of the above named men arid their achievements- under the head 
of early explorations. 

■ The attempt of the French' government to fconnect New 
France, as Canada was then called, with Louisiana by' a continu- 
ous chain of fortified posts led to the French and Indian war, the 
old French war of revolutionary titoes.- The special events .of' this 
war, although otherwise very interesting, can not expect any place 
in this narrative. The final result of the war, however was most 
.important for the country now within the limits of Wisconsin. 
This result was nothing less than a total surrender of New France 
including Canada, and the country around the Lakes as well as all 
the eastern paft of the Mississippi Valley with the exception of a 
small tract near the mouth of the river, to England. At that time, 
that is in 1763, the French posts or settlements in Wisconsin were 
limited to two, at Green Bay and Prairie du Chieh, though other 
temporary posts had probably existed and been abandoned. The 
English took possession of Green Bay in 1769. Whether they 
took formal possession of Prairie du Chien is not of record. The 
war of the Revolution, which terminated with the peace of Paris 
on the 30th of November, 1783, secured not only the independence 
of the United States, but also the surrender to them by England 
■of all the claims, rights and titles the latter had to any lands, or 
territories in the Mississippi Valley. The United States did not, 
however, assume actual possession of posts established there until 
1796, after the ratification of Jay's treaty. By the ordinance of 
1787, w!hich may be considered the Magna Charta of this western 
country, the several colonies relinquished the claims, which they 
had to this part of the newly acquired territory in favor of the 
United States or the general government. This important docu- 
ment not only provided fundamental' laws for the land north of 

' thfe Ohio Ri^fer'btit provided also f6r'*a' division of thfe same into 
'ffv6'Btat^,'Wiscolisin td 'be thfe 'fifth, bufelt'iHitetnbt be' f naaigined 

"that' that' name was li&ed.'- 'This' particular provisioii 'of the- 'great 


ordinance will turn up at the time of organizing the state of 
Michigan, and, as a consequence thereof the separate territory b( 
Wisconsin. As it was, the country north of, and bordering on 
the Ohio was organized into the Northwest Territory embracing the 
present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, 
besides that part of Minnesota situated on the east side of the 
Mississippi River, to which the limits of the territory unquestiotli 
ably extended. 

The first governor of this vast, but very imperfectly known 
territory, was Gen. Arthur St. Clair, appointed 1787 and the first 
delegate to Copgress from the same was Gen Wm. H. Harrison (old 
Tippecanoe) and afterward President of the United States. 

Gen. Harrison was appointed 1798 secretary and ex-ofBcio lieU'j 
tenant governor of the territory, in place of Winthrop Sargeant, an^ 
held that position until 1802, when, Ohio having-been admitted ai: 
a state, and the remainder of the Northwest territory having been 
organized as the Territory of Indiana, he was appointed the first 
governor of the latter. In 1805 Indiana Territory was divided 
and the Territory of Michigan formed, which embraced also Wis*^ 
consin, designated at that time as the part west of Lake Michigan. 
In 1809 Illinois Territory was organized in that part of the 
Territory of Indiana lying west of the Wabash River and Lake 
Michigan and from the Ohio northwards to the boundary line be- 
tween the United States and Canada. Indiana and Illinois having; 
been admitted as states in 1817 and 1819 respectively, Wisconsin 
was again united with Michigan into one territory and remained; 
in that dependence until July 4th 1836, when it was organized as 
a separate territory. Its first governor was Henry Dodge. The 
Territory embraced at that time all the land north of the line of 
the state of Missouri between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, 
hence all of Iowa and Minnesota with some parts of Dakota as well 
as the part now enclosed by the limits of the state- As a sum- 
mary of the political history I shall give the condension of mach.^ 
more than I intended to give from the History of Wisconsin Terri- 
tory by Moses M. Strong page 214 and 215. ' 

1. From 1512 until 1627 claimed by Spain as a part of Flo-; 
rida, which was discovered by Ponce de Leon. This claim even 
allowing its validity, was never more than ideal, as far as Wisconi 


sin was concerned, and crossed by that based on La Salle's discov- 
eries and exploration in regard to the remainder. 

. 2, From 1627 until 1762 dominion was claimed and to a con- 
siderable part exercised by France. 

3. From February 1763 (Treaty of Paris) legal authority 
belonged to England, which continued to hold it de facto until 1796. 

4. From 1783 (second treaty of Paris) the legal ownership of 
the Northwest Territory must be conceded to the different states 
which had their colonial limits extended over it by their charters. 
The rights of these states were formally surrendered to the United 
Stat^ by the compact contained in the ordinance of 1787- As the 
English held possession of most, if not all the fortified places until 
1796 this claim was more or less dormant. 

5. From 1787 the United States were the nominal owner of 
the land and became the actual one at the evacuation of the posts 
held by the British. 

k 6. Civil and military authority were vested in 1800 in the 
government of the Northwest Territory by the United States. 

7. In 1802 the same authority was vested in the Territory of 

8. In 1805 the Territory of Michigan including Wisconsin 
was created with the same authority. 

9. Wisconsin was in 1809 attached to Illinois Territory. 

10. 1819. Reunited to Michigan Territory. 

11. In 1836 it was organized into a separate Territory with 
limits much extended. 

In 1838 the parts west of the Mississippi were detached. 

12. In 1848 it became a state. 

The above, beginning with a condens-d history of discoveries, 
settlements, wars and treaties, and transfers from one hand to an- 
other is much longer than might have been thought necessary for a 
history of so small a spot as one county, yet it may be considered 
laudable curiosity to inquire into the circumstances by which 
finally the establishment of the county came to be a legal and 
well authorized act. It is true, the place, or the people inhabiting 
it, did not have any action and influence in all these matters, but 
the developments related above, various and intricate, had a con- 
troling influende over the destinies of the state of which the county 
is now and has been since its organization a recognized and dis- 


tinct^art. An essential .part of political life and history is tbe 
administration of laws, but laws suppose nthe existence. and pres-v^ 
ence pf civilized persons acknowledging, them. It is not necessary 
nor is it sometirnes possible, to ask .the > consent,- but; it is always 
important, ito demand, and compel, if need be, the submission to 
the laws. tiConfiningourselyes now to the. history of the precise 
spot,i of which, we intemd to speak, we may . dismiss, the -period of 
the supposed Spanish possessions. with the remark that therei were 
no laws, nor anypersone; to whom, and by ~whom, they could be 
administered. : Whatever may have been. the legal or actual period => 
of the possession aforementioned, there isnotiace left of any roan- • 
ifestatioiB of poweiiior authority having i been exercised -in this 
country by the Spanish with .the exception of the settlement at* 
St. Augustin) Long, nearly half a century, afterwards, the French 
j)ower -was established- permanently in Canada,, and began . to ex- 
tend itself like a thread, along the waterways and we find inil634 
the fi.Bst civilized anan penetrating into a locality which now is in.- 
cluded with'inwur state; During the 26 years which elapsed be- . 
tween .the ipierroanent (settlement by Cham.plain at Quebec .and the 
visit of Jean Nicolet to Green Bay an intermediate post had been 
established at. MackinaWi thougih . not on any other point in the 
chain of lakes and rivers of which the St. Lawrence forms estuary.- . 

The French as well ■ as the Hurons and other Indians < went 
from Quebec by way of the Ottawa River to Lake Nipissing and 
Lake Huron and thence to Sault St. Marie and Mackinaw. Dur- 
ing all these times of French supremacy but little if any, law was . 
observed by the traders in transactions with the Indians, but in 
their dealings among themselves and with their dependents they 
were generally considered as amenable to the "Coutume de Paris/' 
that is, the common law of Paris or of France. 

By the Quebec Act of 1774 the criminal law of England was 
introduced into the newly acquired possessions, in civil matters, 
however, the law of Canada was to prevail. The constitution and 
the laws of. the United States may be considered to have been in 
force from and after the organization : of the Northwest Territory, . 
and such special laws as may. have been enacted from time to 
time by the legislatures of the territories, to which Wisconsin be- 
longed in succession as related above. . 

Having now b»ougljt down, the political history of the state 


to the time when Wisconsin, under that name and title, was 
established as the " Territory of Wisconsin " we must bring in a 
synopsis of the history of that territory, containing the names of 
the two representative officers of it, that is of the governors and 
secretaries, and the time during which each of them held his 
position. Governors and secretaries of territories are appointed 
by the President of the United States, and the secretary was the 
acting governor in the absence of the governor, or his disability 
to perform the duties of his office. He was not in the sense of the 
state constitution lieutenant governor, since he was not ex-officio 
president of the Council. The latter was elected by districts ac- 
cording to an apportionment of the territory by the governor. 

The number of its members was regulated by the number of 
members of the Assembly. This also was an elective body of 
about twice the n«mber of members of the council, similar to the 
proportion which has been adopted into the constitution of the 
state. The legislative sessions of the territorial times Were some- 
times rather stormy on account of disagreements with governors 
and secretaries acting as such. They were, also, occasionly agit- 
ated or excited on account of disagreements with Congress, who 
had the supreme jurisdiction in all matters, and not only annulled 
laws passed by the territorial legislature, but also sometimes neg- 
lected to provide for the necessary expenditures to carry on the ter- 
ritorial government. Nevertheless it seems to have been a pre- 
judice of the population of the territory, that it was better to be 
dependent upon the general government, than to depend upon 
themselves. The growth of the population was not so very rapid 
as in territories organized at some later times, and its spread was, 
even after the adoption of the state constitution, very slow in the 
western parts lying north of the Wisconsin river, or its lower course. 

The folhjwing is the list of governors: 

Governors of Wisconsin Territory: 

Henry Dodge from July 4, 1836 to Oct. 5, 1841. 

James Duane Doty „ Oct. 5,1841 to Sept. 16,1844. 

Nathaniel P. Tallmadge , Sept. 16,1844 to May 13, 1845. 

Henry Dodge „ May 13, 1845 to June 7, 1848. 

The first of these governors was a Missourian by birth, and 
had distinguished himself by his services both at the time of the 
Winnebago outbreak, and in the Black Hawk war. He was the 


representative mappf the Mining Region, which, at the time of his 
appointment, was probably the most populous part of the territory. 
Governor Doty was also an officer in the Black Hawk war, but 
having been severely wounded by an accidental shot fired by one 
of the volunteers, he had to return home before any decisive battle 
had been fought. Before his appointment as governor he had been 
twice, 1838 and 1840, elected as the delegate of the territory to 

Governor Tallmadge was less than one year in office, and was 
succeeded by Henry Dodge, who had been delegate to Congress 
sirice the appointment of Gov. Doty. 

All of our territorial governors were Democrats, the democratic 
party being then in the ascendancy. Gov. Doty, appointed by 
President Tyler was the only governor, who had aa}' serious trou- 
ble with the legislature. , 
Secretaries of Wisconsin Territory: 

John S. Horner May 6, 1836. 

William B. Slaughter Feb. 16, 1837. 

Francis J. Dunn Jan. 25, 1841. 

A. P. Field Apr. 23, 3841. 

George R. C. Floyd Oct. 30, 1843. 

John Catlin Feb. 24; 1846. 

Of the above named gentlemen John S. Horner, a Virginian, 
was before the organization of the territory of Wisconsin acting 
governor of Michigan territory, of which Wisconsin then was a 
part. There was some disagreement between him and the legis- 
lature on account of his proclamation for convoking the latter. The 
result of this was a resolution to request the President to revoke 
Horner's commission, which, however, did not produce the desire^ 

The following table shows the sessions of the Territorial As- 
sembly from year to year until the State Organization went into 
effect. The Council represents the Senate, the Representatives or 
House as it is commonly ©ailed answering to the Assembly of the 
state constitution, 




During Territorial Organization : 



October 25th.... 
November 6th... 

June 11th 

November 26th. 
January 21st.... 
Decepber 2d. ... 

August 3d 

December 7th.... 
December 6th... 

March 6th 

March 27th 

December 4th... 

January 6th 

January 5th 

January 4th 

October 18th.... 
February 7th ... 


Dec. 9 183€46 

Jan. 20 1838 76 

June 25 183815 

Dec. 22 1838 27 

March 11 1839 50 

Jan. 13 1840 43 

Aug. 14 184012 

Feb. 19 184175 

Feb. 19 1842 76 

Mar. 25 '... .1843 20 

Apr. 17 1843 22 

Jan. 31 1844 59 

Feb. 24 1845 50 

Feb. 3 1846 30 

Feb. 11 1847 39 

Oct. 27 1847 10 

March 13 1848 36 



days — 


















It cannot be expected that in this book an extended history 
of territorial legislation should be given, but so much of it as 
relates to the part of the state in which our county is situated may 
be very interesting and acceptable. 

As a preliminary we must remark that all the western part 
of the territory north of the Wisconsin River was still the county 
of Crawford, reaching up to Lake Superior, west to the Mississippi 
and east to the Wisconsin in its general southern course. The 
county as then constituted was in itself large enough for a respect- 
able state, but the bulk of the population was near Prairie du 
Chien. These limits had been established by the government of 
Michigan Territory. 

The first division took place in 1840 when the northern part 
of Crawford county was organized as the county of St. Croix. The 
division line was north of the Chippewa River and the present 
county of Pierce was the southern part of the new county, while 
all south of it was still Crawford county. Crawford county had 
been an assembly district with two members in the assembly, but 


Political HlstoRY. 

none in the council, and the two counties still remained one dis-' 
trict, but a member of the council was apportioned to them. 

The legislature of 1845 set off the upper part of Crawford 
county, and organized Chippewa county with the Buffalo or Beef 
River as the boundary line between them. In the same session 
the northern part of St. Crcix countj' was set off under the name 
of La Pointe County. The four counties into which the original 
county of Crawford had been divided still formed one assembly 
district, now (1846) entitled to one member of the Council and one 
of the Assembly. This apportionment prevailed: 







Jas. H. Lock wood, Jas. B. Dallam. 



Ira B. Brunson, Jean Bennet. 


George Wilson. 

Alexander McGregor. 



AlexanderMcGregorJraB. Brunson 


Jas. Bi'ibi)is (1 session.) 
Chas. J. Learned, extra 

The same. 

* session. 



Chas. J. Learned. 

Alfred Brunson, Jos. R. Brown. 



do. do. 


Theophile La Chapelle. 

John H. Manahan. 





Wiram Knowlton. 

James Fisher. 



do. . 


Benjamin F. Manahan. 

Jos/ VV. Furber. 



Henry Jackson. 




The above list together with preceding remarks will give a 
clear idea of the representation of the northwestern portion of the 
territory. The loss of a member of representatives depended on the 
much larger increase of the population in the eastern and southern 
parts during the time between the first and some later apportion- 
ment. The denial of a member of council in the first legislative 
assembly created quite a hubbub at Prairie du Chien, an indigna- 
tion meeting was held, and Thomas P. Burnett chosen as a mem- 
ber of the council. ' But his petition to the legislature fpr a seat in 
that body, could not be granted, since the governor had only exer- 
cised his right and performed his duty in the apportionment 


of the members of either body of the legislative assembly to 
the different counties, and the legislature could not interfere with it. 

Among the representatives from this district was one remark- 
able man, whose career seems to deserve particular notice. This 
man was Joseph R. Brown. He ca,me to the notice of the people 
and the territorial.legislature of Wisconsin in the year 1840 when 
he and his wife applied for a divorce, as mentioned in Strong's 
History of Wisconsin Territory in the following words: 

"A very anomalous divorce act was passed at this session, 
which recited that Joseph R. Brown and Margaret Brown a half- 
breed Chippewa woman, were legally married and were mutually 
desirous of dissolving the marriage contract in consequence of the 
danger they both incur of the destruction of their lives and prop- 
erty by continuing to live together, at the place where they now 
reside, on account of the hostile incursions of the 8ioux Indians." 

That it should be lawful for them by a written article of sep- 
aration, under their hands and seals, to dissolve the marriage con- 
taact existing between them, provided that the articles of separa- 
tion contain a provision for her of one-third of all his property. 
Whether the separation actually took place, I do not know, but as 
Mr. Brown still continued to reside in the same place, it may be 
presumed that it did. The following is a short summation of the 
biographical sketches that appeared in St. Paul newspapers at the 
time of his rather unexpected demise: 

"Joseph Renshaw Brown was born on the 5th of January 1806, 
in Hartford county, Maryland, where his father was a local 
preacher of the Meth. Episcopal church. His mother died in his 
infancy, and his father removed to Pennsylvania, where Joseph 
was brought up on a farm. In his 14th year he was appenticed to 
a printer, from whose harsh and unjust treatment he ran away, 
enlisting in the U. S. service as a drummer boy. With his com- 
pany he came 1819 to Fort Snelling, Minn., where he served out 
his capitulation and was probably in 1825, discharged. He now 
set up for an Indian trader, acquired a perfect knowledge of the 
Dakpta, tongue, and established himself at Gray Cloud, about 12 
miles below St. Paul,, where he was commissioned as, a Justice of 
the Peace by Gov. Dodge of Wisconsin, to which territory , all on 
the east-side of the Mississippi now included, in Minnesota did at 
that time belong. He was granted the aboye divorce in 1840. At 


that time he must have been located at Stillwater, as most of his 
claim there is now included in the city, and as he agreed to pro- 
vide the necessary buildings for the newly created county of St. 
Croix. In 1841 and '42 he was a member of the house of Repre- 
sentatives of Wisconsin Territory, whose sessions he attended faith- 
fully. When at the admission of Wisconsin as a state the St. 
Croix River had been established as the western boundary of that 
new state, Mr. Brown with others, endeavored to induce Congress 
to grant territorial organization to Minnesota, for which purpose 
the so-called Stillwater Convention in August .1848 was held. He 
remained a citizen of Minnesota until the time of his death, was 
Secretary of the territorial council in 1849 and 185 1 , clerk of the 
house 1853, territorial printer in 1853 to '54, member of the con- 
stitutional convention of 1857, where he led the democratic party, 
and was appointed one of the commissioners to canvass the vote 
taken on the adoption of the constitution and the election of the 
first state officers under the same. He had much influence in the 
matter of legislation both during territorial and subsequent times, 
and dictated the policy of his party of whose conventions he 
always was a prominent member. He also was a Journalist and 
proprietor of the St. Paul Pioneer from 1852 to 1854, and of the 
Henderson Democrat, established by himself, from 1857 to 1860 or 61. 
About that time he must have been government agent to the Lower 
Bands of the Sioux, from which position he was reinoved in 1862 
for party consideration. We find nothing on record of him during 
the outbreak of 1862, during which time he must have been at his 
establishment on Big Stone Lake, the last one he ever set up. The 
Indians being removed his trading with them was at an end. 
Like most men of his class he made and lost more than one for- 
tune, but bore his losses with great equanimity, being always good 
humored, cheerful and social. His last venture, or as we might 
term it, his pet hobby, was the building of a steam traction engine, 
a wagon, that could be propelled by steam alone over the hard 
roads of the prairies. This wagon was in the course of construc- 
tion in New York when he was called away from the dreams and 
speculations of this world, with which inventors of every class are 
so largely endowed, and to which they but too often sacrifice every- 
thing they possess. Mr. Brown had also expended large sums in 
experiments and in the construction of his steam wagon, which 


goes far to account for his leaving but a small estate when he died. 
As drummer boy, soldier, Indian trader, lumberman, pioneer, 
speculator, founder of cities, legislator, politician, editor, inventor, 
his career has been a very remarkable and characteristic one, not 
so much for what he achieved, as for the extraordinary versatility 
and capacity which he displayed in every new situation. So say 
those who knew him well. He died in New York on the 6th day 
of November 1870. He may be considered as the pioneer of the 
two neighboring states and might have remained in Wisconsin if 
Wisconsin would have received all the territory to which it was 
entitjed. I related so much of his history because his character 
struck me as that of a model pioneer, just restless enough to be 
ready at any moment for a new enterprise, always hoping for suc- 
cess, but undismayed by reverses. 


First Convention. 
The first Constitutional Convention assembled at Madison on 
the 5th day of October, 1846, and adjourned on the 15th day of 
December, 1846, having framed a Constitution, which was sub- 
mitted to a vote of the people on the first Tuesday in April, 1847, 
and the same was rejected. 

President— Don A. J. Upham of Milwaukee. 
Secretary — La Fayette Kellogg. 

Second Convention. 
This Convention assembled at Madison on the 15th day of 
December, 1847, and adjourned on the 1st day of February, 1848, 
having framed a Constitution which was submitted to a vote of 
the people on the second Monday in March following, and the 
same was adopted. 

President — Morgan L. Martin of Brown. 
Secretary — Thomas McHugh. 
The firsit of these conventions consisted of 124 delegates, most 
of the counties then organized having at least one representative. 
This number was entirely too large for the purpose, and led to 
never ending debates on every trifle. Chippewa County, bounded 
on the south by Beef River, was represented along with Crawford 
County by Peter A. R. Brace. But why it should not have been 
entitled to a separate representative as well as La Crosse County I 
can not understand. 



The second session did not labor under the same disadvantage. 
Perhaps that accounts to a certain extent for the fnct that the first 
constitution was rejected, while the second was adopted. In the 
second convention Chippewa and Crawford counties were repre- 
,Sented by Daniel G-. Fenton. 

The following table is a short repetition of the main circum- 
stances relating to the 


First Convention. 




O f» 


October 5th 

December 16, 1846... 
Second Convention. 

February 1, 1848 

73 days........ 

48 days 



December 15th 



First Session — The first session of the State Legislature was held 
at the Capital at Madison, on Monday, the 5th day of June, A. D. 
1848, pursuant to the constitution, which had been adopted by a 
large majority of the people. The apportionment of Senators and 
Representatives was under constitutional provisions, until other- 
wise declared by law. It convened June 5, 1848, and ' adjourned 
August 21, 1848, seventy-eight days. There were eighty -five 
Second Session — Convened on the 10th of January, 1849, and 
adjourned April 2, 1849, eighty-three days, eighty-five members. 

Third Session — Convened January 9, and adjourned February 
11, 1850, thirty-four days, eighty -five members. 

Fourth Session — Convened January 8, 1^51, and adjourned 
March 17, 1851, sixty-nine days, eighty-five members. 

Fijth Session— Convened January 14, 1852, and adjourned 
April 19, 1852. ninety-seven days, eighty-five members. 

Sixth Session— This Legislature convened on the 12th of Janu- 
ary, 1853, and adjourned on the 4th day of April, 1853, until thfe 
6th day of June, following, for the purpose that the Senate might 
sit as a Court of Impeachment, and the Assejnbly be present to 
prosecute the trial of Levi Hubbell, Judge of the Second Judicial 
Circuit, against whom Articles of Impeachment had bSen exhibited, 


charging him with acts of corrupt conduct and malfeasance 
in office. For this purpose the Legislature again convened 
on the 6th day of June, and adjourned finally on the 13th of July, 
1853. The legislative session amounted to one hundred and 
twenty-one days, with one hundred and seven members. 

Seventh Session — Convened January 11, 1854, and adjourned 
April 3, 1854, eighty-three days, one hundred and seven members. 

Eighth Session — Convened January 10, 1865, and adjourned. 
April 2, 1855, eighty-three days, one hundred and sev«n members. 

Ninth Session^— Convened. J anviary d, 1856, and took a recess 
from March 31 , 1856, to September 3, 1856, and adjourned Octo- 
ber 14, 1856, one hundred and twerlty-five days, one hundred and 
seven members. 

Tenth Session — Convened January 14, 1857, and adjourned. 
March 9, 1857, fifty-five days, one hundred and twenty -seven mem- 

Eleventh Session — Convened January 13, and adjourned May 
17, 1858, one hundred and twenty-five days, one hundred and 
twenty-seven members, 

Twelfth Session — Convened January 12, 1859, and adjourned 
March 21, 1859, sixty-nine days, one hundred and twenty-seven 

Thirteenth Session — Convened January 11, 1860, and adjourned 
April 2, 1860, eighty-three days, one hundred and twenty-seven 

Fourteenth Session — Convened January 9 and adjourned April 
17, 1861. Reconvened May 15^ and adjourned May 27, 1861, a 
total of one hundred and twelve days, one hundred and twenty- 
seven members. 

fifteenth Sesdon— Convened January 8, 1862, and adjourned 
April 7, 1862. Reconvened June 3, 1862, and adjourned June 17, 
1862. Met in extra session Septei.aber 10, 1862 and adjourned 
September 26, 1862, a total of one hundred and twenty-two days, 
one hundred and thirty-three members. 

Sixteenth Sesdon— Convened January 14, 1863, and adjourned 
April 2, 1863, seventy-nine days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Seventeenth Sesdon— Convened January 13, 1864, and adjourned 



April 4, 1864, eighty-three days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Eighteenth Session-^Convened January 11, 1865, and adjourned 
April 10, 1865, ninety days, one hundred and thirty-three mem- 

Nineteenth fesion— Convened January 10, 1866, and adjourned 
April 12, 1866, ninety-three days, one hundred and thirty-three 
members. ' 

Twentieth jSi«ssion-^-Convened January 9, 1867, and adjourned 
April 11, 1867, ninety-three days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Twenty-first Session — Convened January 8, 1868, and adjourned 
March 6, 1868, fifty-nine days, one hundred and thirty-three mem- 

Twentyrsecond Session — Convened January 13 and adjourned 
March 11, 1869, fifty-eight days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Twenty-third Session — Convened January 12, and adjourned 
March 17, 1870, sixty-five days, one hundred aad thirty-three 

Twenty-fourth Session — Convened January 11, 1871, aiid ad- 
journed March 25, 1871, seventy-four days, one hundred and thirty- 
three members. - . 

Twenty -fifth Session — Convened January 10, 1872, and adjourned 
March 26, 1872, seventy-seven days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Twenty-sixth Session — Convened January 8, 1873, and adjourned 
March 20, 1873, seventy -two days, one hundred and thirty -three 

Twenty- seventh Session — Convened January 14, 1874, and ad- 
journed March 12, 1874, fifty-eight days, one hundred and thirty- 
three members. 

Twenty-eighth Session — Convened January 13, 1875, and ad- 
journed March 6, 1875, fifty-three days, one hundred and thirty- 
three members. 

Twenty-ninth Session — Convened January 12, 1876, and ad- 
journed March 14, 1876, sixty-three days, om hundred and thirty- 
three membeis. 


Thirtieth Session — Convened January 10, 1877, and adjourned 
March 8, 187,7,, : fifty-eight days, one hundred and thirty -three 

Thirty-first Session — Convened January 9, 1878, and adjourned 
March 21, 1878. Met in extra session June 4, 1878, for the pur- 
pose of completing the revision of statutes, and adjourned June 7, 
1878. Officers same as at regular session. Seventy-six days, one 
hundred and thirty-three members. 

Thirty-second Session — Convened January 8, 187.9, and adjourned 
March 5, 187^, fifty-seven days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Thirty-third Session — Convened January 14, 1880, and ad- 
journed March 17, 1880, sixty-four days, one' hundred and thirty- 
three members. 

Thirty-fourth Session — ^.Convened January 12, 1881, and ad- 
journed April 4, 1881, eighty-three days, one hundred and thirty- 
three members. 

Thirty-fifth Session — Convened January 1], 1882, and adjourned 
March 31, 1.882, eighty days, one hundred and thirty-three 

Thirty-sixth jSessio«-^Convened January 10, 1883, and adjourned 
April 4, 1883, eighty-five days, one hundred and' thirty -three 

Thirty-seventh Session — Convened January 14, 188-5, . and ad- 
journed April 13, 1885, eighty-nine days, one hundred and thirty- 
three members. 

During the state orgg,nization the two houses of the. legislature 
were called the Senatei and the Assembly. 

For the first five sessions, (1848 to 1852 incl.) there were 19 
senators and 55 members of the Assepibly. 

For the next four years, (1853-h56 inel.) there were 25 sena- 
tors and 82 members of the Assembly.. . ; 

For the next five years, (1857 — 62; incl.) there were 30 senators 
and 97 members of the Assembly. 

Ever since, beginning with 1863 there were 33 senators and 
100 members of the Assembly. : 

Redistricting for members of either house i? done after the 
census taken every ten years by the United States, and every five 
years after that by the State of Wisconsin. As the sessions of the 


legislature are now biennial and fall upon the odd numbered 
years, redistricting will be performed in the first and the seventh 
year of every decade. 

It now remains to be seen by whom this county has been 
represented in the two houses of the Legislature. 


1848 2nd Bistrict D. G. Fenton of Prairie du Chien. 

1849 do. do. James Fisher of Eastman. 

1850 do. ^o. James Fisher of Prairie du Chien. 

1851 do. do. Hiram A. Wright of Prairie du Chien. 

1852 do. do. Hiram A. Wright of do. 

1853 19th District Benjamin Allen of Pepin; 

1854 do. do. Benjamin Allen of Hudson. 

1855 do. do. Wm. J. Gibson of Black River Falls. 

1856 do. do. Wm. J. Gibson of do. 

1857 30th District Wm. T. Price of Black River Falls. 

1858 do. do. Wm. H. Tucker of La Crosse. 

1859 do. do. Wm. H. Tucker of do. 

1860 do. do. B. E. Hutchinson of Prairie du Chien. 

1861 do. do. B. E. Hutchinson of do. 

1862 3ist District Edwin Flint- of La Crosse. 

1863 do. do. Angus Cameron of La Crosse. 

1864 32d District Carl C. Pope of Black River Falls. 
Carl C. Pope of do. 
J. G; Thorp of Eau Claire. 
J. G. Thorp of do. 
A. W. Newman of Trempealeau. 
A. W. Newman of do. 
Wm. T. Price of Black River Falls. 
Wm. T. Price of do. 
Orlando Brown of Modena. 
Orlando Brown of do. 
R. C. Field of OsSeo. 
R. C. Field of do. 
Mark Douglas of' Mfelrose. 
Mark Douglas of do. 
Wm. T. Price of Black River Falls. 

1879 29th District H. E. Houghton of Durand 

1880 do, do. H. E. Houghton of do, 



























































Augustus Finkelnburg of Fountain City. 
Augustus Finkelnburg of do. 

N. D. Comstock of Arcadia. 
N. D. Comstock of do. 
John W. DeGroff of Alma. 
Senators wore formerly elected for two years, but are now 
elected for four years or two sessions. 

District consisting of the counties of Ohippewa and Crawford. 
1848 Wm . T. Sterling of Mt. Sterling. 

1849, James O'Neill of Black River Falls. 

1850, Wm. T. Sterling of Mt. Sterling: 

1851, Wm. T. Price of Black River Falls. 

District consisting of the counties of Bad Ax, Chippewa, Crmujord and 

La ■ Crosse: 

1852, Andrew Briggs of Bad Ax. 

District consisting of the counties of Chippewa and La Crosse: 

1853, Albert La Due of La Crosse. 

District eo<asisting of the counties of Buffalo, Ohippewa, Clark, Jackson 

and La Crosse: 

1854, Wm. J. Gibson of Black River Falls.: 

District, consisting of the comities, of Buffalo,, Chippewa, and La Crosse: 

1855, Chase A. Stevens of La Crosse. 

1856, Dugald D. Cameron of La Crosse. 

District corisisting of the counties of Buffalo, Jackson and Trempealeau: 

1857, Samuel. D. Hastings of Trempealeau. 

1858, Harlow E. Prickett of Black River Falls. 

1859, Jesse Bennett of Fountain City. 

1860, Romanzo Bunn of Galesville. 

1861, Calvin R. Johnson of Black River Falls. 

District consisting of the counties of Buffalo, Pepin and Trempealeau: 
■ 1862, Orlando Brown of Gilmanton. 

1863, Alfred W. Newman, of Trempealeau. 

1864, Fayette Allen of Durand. 
1865^ John 'Burgess of Nelson. 
1866. Wm. H. Thomas of Sumner. 

District consisting' pf the comity of Buffalo : ■ 
- 1867, Conrad Moser Jr. of Alma^ 
'1S68/ Conrad Moser Jr. of Alma, 


1869,' Robert Henry of Anchorage. 

1870, James L. Hallock of Burnside. 

1871, AhazF. Allen of (iilmanton. 

1872, George Cowie of Glericoe. 

1873, Robert Lees of Gilmanton. 

: 1874, A. Finkelnburg of Fountain City. 

1875, Edward Lees of Cross. 

1876, Edward Lees of Cross. 

District Consisting of Buffalo County in part ; 

1877, J. J. Sennof Fountain City. 

1878, J. J. Sent! of Fountain City. . 

1879, John W. DeGroff of Alma. 

1880, Franklin Oilman of Gilmanton. 

1881, Richard R. Kempter of Ahna. 

1882, M. W. McDonnell of Alma. 

1883, John A. Tester of Alma. 
1885, S. D. Hubard of Mondovi. 
1887, Joseph V. Jones of Canton. 

Members of the Assembly are elected for one session, fori)i 
eriy for one year, now for two years. 

The assembly district consists again of the whole ^ounty of 
Buffalo since 1882 ; the towns of , Maxville, Canton and Mondovi 
(now Naples and Mondovi) belonged for some years' to the Pepinl 
County Assembly district. According to the apportionmenf or 
redistrietion perfornied by the labt legislature Buffalo County 
remains a separate assembly district and forms the' 29th senatorial 
district in conjunction with Pepin and Trempealeau, according to 
the ,,:■.. .' .■ 

" Act to apportion the state into senate and. assembly dis- 
tricts, Chapter 46Z General Laws of 1887" 
where we read: , ■ 

"The counties of Buffalo Pepin and Trempealeau 
shall, constitute the twenty -ninth senate district; " 
and again: 

"The county of Buffalo shall constitute an assembly 
Which settles the present position of our county as to elec- 
tions for the state legislature. ■ 

Looking over the list of the members of the Assembly one 


must be struck by the continual changes of the district. Much of 
Ihis is however only apparent, depending upon the organization of 
new counties from territory formerly included in the large old 

To the State Organization belong not only. Senate and Assem- 
bly but also, the whole state government. Considering that our 
county, like every other one, is an organic part of the state, I 
thought proper to introduce a list of all such. state offices as are 
now recognized, and in fact were created, by the constitution, giv- 
ing names . of incumbents and their time . of service. Offices 
created by subsequent legislation, and. by the same abolished, were 

Bank Gomptroller. Created 1852, abolished 1868. , . 

State Prison Commissioner. Created 1853, abolished 1873. 

State Commissioner of'Smmigration. Created 1871, abolished 1874. 

Besides these three there are still two offices of the same 

Railroad Commissioner. Created 1873, made elective 1881. 

Insurance Commissioner. Created 1867,. elective since 1861. 

These offices may be continued or not;, the present incumbents 

Railroad Commissioner: Atley Peterson, 

Insurance Commissioner: Phillip Cheek, Jr. 

This concludes the roll of State officers. Though the others 
follow after these two, .the force of what has been said above will 
by this accident not be diminished. 


Nelson Dewey, June 1845.toJani 1852 

Leonard J. FarwelL Jan. 1852 to " 1854 

Wm. A. Barstow Jan. 1854 to March 1856 

Arthur McArthur ...March 1856 to Mardh 1856 

Coles Bashford March 1856. to Jan. 1858 

Alex. W. Randall 1858 to 1862 

Louis P. Harvey.... Jan. 1862 to April 1862 

Edward Solomon April 1862 to Jan. 1864 

JamesT. Lewis < 1864to. 1866 

Lucius Fairchild 1866 to 1872 

C. C. Washburn... 1872 to 1874 

William R. Taylor 1874«to 1876 

Harrison Ludington 1876 to 1878 


Wm. E.Smith 1878 to 1882 

Jeremiah' M. Rusk. 1882 to 1889 


John E. Homes June 1848 to Jan. 1850 

Samuel W.Beall 1850 to 1852 

Timothy Burns.. 1852 to 1854 

James T. Lewis,.-..... 1854 to 1856 

Arthur McArthur.. 1856 to 1858 

E. D. Campbell 1858 to 1860 

Butler G. Noble 1860 to 1862 

Edward Solomon Jan. 1862 to April 1862 

Gerry W. Hazelton Sept. 1862 to Sept. 1862 

Wyman Spooner 1863 to 1870 

Thaddeus C. Pound. 1870 to 1872 

Milton H. Pettit Jan. 1872 to March 1878 

Charles D. Parker 1874 to 1878 

James M. Bingham 1878 to 1882 

Sam. S. Fifield 1882 to 1887 

Geo; W; Ryland 1887 to 1889 


Thos. McHugh June 1848 to Jan. 1850 

Wm. A. Barstow 1850 to 1852 

a D. Robinson 1852 to 1864 

Alex. T. Gray 1854 to 1856 

David W. Jones 1866 to 1860 

Louis P. Harvey 1860 to 1862 

James T. Lewis 1862 to 1864 

Lucius Fairchild 1864 to 1866 

Thomas S. Allen 1866 to 1870 

Llywelyn Breese 1870 to 1874 

Peter Doyle 1874 to 1878 

Hans. B. Warner 1878 to 1882 

Ernst G.Timme 1882 to 1889 


Jarius C. Fairchild, Jan. 1848 to Jan. 1852 

Edward H. Janssen, 1862 to 1856 

Charles Kuehn, 1856 to 1868 

Samuel D. Hastings,., 1858 to 1866 

William E. Smith, 1866 to 1870 


Henry Baetz, 1870 to 1874 

Ferdinand Kuehn, :.:. 1874 to 1878 

Richard Guenther, 1878 to 1882 

Edward C. McFetridge 1882 to 1887 

Henry B.Harshaw 1887 to 1889 


James S. Brown June 1848 toJan. 1850 

S. Park Coon 1850 to 1852 

Experience Estabrook 1852 to 1854 

George B. Smith...' 1854 to 1856 

William R. Smith; 1856 to 1858 

Gabriel Bouck 1858 to 1860 

James H.Howe '. Jan. 1860 to Oct. 1862 

Winfield Smith Oct. l862 to Jan. 1866 

Charles R. Gill 1866 to 1870 

Stephen S. Barlow 1870 to 1874 

A. Scott Sloan 1874 to 1878 

Alexander Wilson •. 1878 to 1882 

Leander F. Frisby.. 1882 to 1887 

Charles E. Estabrook 1887 to 1889 


Eleazer Root ....Jan. 1849 to Jan. 1852 

Azel P. Ladd ..'. •• 1852 to 1854 

Hiram A Wright.. Jan. 1854 to May 1855 

A. Constantine Barry June 1855 to Jan. 1858 

Lyman C. Draper.... 1858 to 1860 

Josiah L. Pickard Jan. 1860 to Sept. 1864 

John G. McMynn.. Oct. 1864 to Jan. 1868 

Alexander J. Craig 1868 to 1870 

Samuel Fallows ... 1870 to 1874 

Edward Searing 1874 to 1878 

William C. Whitford l878to l882 

Robert Graham 1882 to 1887 

Jesse B.Thayei 1887 to 1889 

Among the powers necessary in every well regulated state, 
and hence provided for in the constitution of the state of Wiscon- 
sin, is the Judiciar}', co-ordinate to the Legislature and the Execu- 
jtive. It consists, as far as the state is concerned, in the Supreme 


Court and the different Circuit Courts, the number of the latter 
being changed according to'the respective increase in the popula- 
tion of the different districts. 

SDPEEME court: 

Name. Title. Term expires. 

Orsamus Cole Chief Justice 1st Monday of Jan. 1892. 

Wm. P. Lyon Associate Justice 1st Monday of Jan. 1894 

David Taylor do 1st Monday of Jan. 1896. 

Harlow 8. Orton do 1st Monday of Jan. 1888. 

John B. Cassoday do ......1st Monday of Jan. 1890. 

Judge Orton has been reelected last spring. (1887.) The Su- 
preme Court was organized as a separate court in 1853, until which 
time the Judges of the Circuit Courts were ex-officio Justices; of the 
Supreme Court. 

CIRCUIT court: 

1. Judge George Gale of Galesville. 

2. Edwin Flint of La Crosse. 

3. Romanzo Bunn of Galesville. 

4. Alfred W. Newman of Trempealeau. 

5. Egbert B. Bundy of Menomonie. 

Our Circuit at present is the " Eighth " consisting of the coun- 
ties of Buffalo, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce and St. Croix. 
The State Institutions of Wisconsin are the following: 


The University of Wisconsin at Madison. 
State Normal School at Platteville. 

do. do at Whitewater. 

do. do. at Oshkosh. 

do. do. at River Falls. 

do. do. at Milwaukee. 

Farmers Institutes, at different places. 


State' Board of Charity\and Reform. 
It has charge of the following: 

1. Private Institutions for the Insane. 

2. Prisons. 

3. Reformatories. 

4. Institutions for the Poor. 


5. Institutions- for Defectives. 

6. Private Benevolent Institutions. 

State Board of Supervision. 
Institutions under its charge: 

State Hospital for the Insane at Mendota. 
Northern Hospital for the Insane at Winnebago. 
State Public School at Sparta. 
School for the Deaf at Delavan. 
School for the Blind at Janesville. 
Industrial School for Boys at Waukesha. 
State Prison at Waupun. 
After enumerating these state institutionSj we come to the 
representation of the state itself, and our district in particular, in 
the National Legislature commonly called Congress. The state as 
such is represented in the Senate, each district in the House of 



Isaac p. Walker June 8, 1848. 

Henry Dodge , June 8, 1848. 

Isaac P. Walker Jan. 17, 1849. 

Henry Dodge Jan. 20, 1851. 

Charles Durkee Feb. 1, 1855. 

Jas. R. Doolitfcle Jan. 23, 1857. 

Timothy O. Howe Jan. 23, 1861. 

Jas, R. Doolittle Jan. 22, 1863. 

Timothy 0. Howe Jan. 24, 1867. 

Math. H. Carpenter Jan. 26, 1869. 

Timothy 0. Howe , Jan. 21, 1873. 

Angus Cameron Feb. 3, 1875. 

Math. H. Carpenter Jan. 22,1879. 

Philetus Sawyer .Jan. 26, 1881. 

Angus Cameron .*. March 10, 1881. 

John C. Spooner Jan. 28, 1885. 

Philetus Sawyer Jan. 26, 1887. 

The county of Buffalo entered into political life in 1854, pur- 
suant to an act of the legislature; Before that it belonged to Craw- 

268 POLiTtCAL HlStOllY- 

■ W .;:ka) 

ford, 'then to Crawford and Chippewa, then to La Crosse and 
Chippewa, but it belonged during that time alwaj'S to the sec- 
ond Congressional District, 


Second District: 

30th Congress 1847—49 Mason C. Darling. 

31st do. 1849—51 Orsamus Cole. 

32d do. 1851—53 Ben. C. Eastman. 

33d do. 1853—55 ....Ben. C. Eastman. 

34th do. 1855—57 Cadwallader C. Washburn. 

35th do. 1857—59 Cadwallader C. Washburn. 

36th do. 1859—61 Cadwallader C. Washburn. ■ 

37th do. 1861—63 Luther Hanchett (Died 1862) 

Succeeded by Walter D. Mclndoe. 
Sixth District: 

38th Congress 1863—65 Walter D. Mclndoe. 

39th do. 1865—67 Walter D. Mclndoe. 

40th do. 1867—69 Cadwallader C. Washburn. 

41st do. 1869—71; Cadwallader C. Washburn. 

42d do. 1871—73 Jeremiah M. Rusk. 

Seventh District: 

43d Congress 1873—75 .Jeremiah M. Riisk. 

44th do. 1875—77 Jeremiah M. Rusk. 

45th do. 1877—79 ,Herman L. Humphrey. 

46th do. 1879—81 Herman L. Humphrey. 

47th do. 1881—83 Herman L. Humphrey. 

Eighth District: 

48th Congress 1883—85 William T. Price. 

49th do. 1885—87 WiUiam T. Price (Died 

Dec. 1886). Succeeded by his son Hugh H. Price. 

50th Congress 1887— 89 INils P. Haugen. 

Beyond this enumeration of our Senators and Representatives 
much else does not seem to belong to a local history except the 
division of our state into United States District Courts. There are 
two such courts in the state, one for the Eastern and one for the 
Western District. Buffalo County belonging to the latter, I will 
give its present organization : 

WESTERN district; 

Judge — Bomanzo Bunn, Madison, 


District Attorney — A. R. Bushnell, Lancaster. 

Assistant District Attorney — W. H. Rogers, Madison. 

Marshal— D. C. Fulton, Hudson. 

Deputy Marshal — T. Scott Ansley, Mineral Point. 
Terms of Court: 
At Madison— First Monday in June. 
At La Crosse — Third Tuesday in September. 
Special Term : At Madison — First Tuesday in December. 

I think it would be rather tedious to enumerate the Presidents 
of the United States in order of succession, especially as the aver- 
age schoolma'm has had the habit, for the last fifty years, to make 
the urchins repeat the table ad infinitum, considering this " teach- 
ing elementary history." But we may, nevertheless, give a synopsis 
of the present government. 


Groyer Cleveland of New York. 


Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana. (Died 1886.) 

The President pro temp, of the Senate is his constitutional suc- 


Secretary of State — Thomas F. Bayard of Delaware. 

" " Treasury — Daniel Manning of New York. Re- 
signed; succeeded by Fairchild. 

Secretary of War — Wm. C Endicott, of Massachusetts. 
" " Navy— Wm. C. Whitney of New York. 
" " Interior — Lucius Q. C. Lamar of Mississippi. 

Postmaster General — Wm. F. Vilas of Wisconsin. 

Attorney General — Augustus H. Garland of Arkansas. 

Having now recited all of the important political events, ar- 
rangements and organizations with which our county was or is 
now connected as a part of the country at large, of Wisconsin Ter- 
ritory and of the State of Wisconsin, it will be proper to say some- 
thing of the history of politics. I have in the foregoing refrained 
from mentioning anything; relating to the internal administration, 
government and judiciary organization of the county, considering, 
that such matters are more properly related under the head of 
" Organization," under which they will be fully discussed. 

270 fOttf fCA'L HlSfOffY; 

The county of Buffalo was ushered into political existence at 
a time when party ties were extremely loosej and a complete revo- 
lution was effected, in which one old party; the Whigs, was left 
without a name, the other, the Democrats, very much diminished 
in numbers and influence, especially in the northern states, and a 
new party, the Republican; was formed, and marshalled its forces 
for the first time in the presidential contest of 1856, in which Wis- 
consin gave Fremont, Republican, 66,090 votes against 62,843 for 
Buchanan, thus, for the first time in its history declaring its oppo- 
sition to the party which had become notorious for favoring the 
extension of the institution of slavery over all the- remaining ter- 
ritories of the United States, making it legal in all thfe future states. 

In the memorable struggle of 1860, which was foUoweid by the 
War of the Rebellion, the stand of Wisconsin was still more de- 
cided as it cast 86,1 10 votes for Lincoln against 65,021 for Douglas.' 
The split in the Democratic party did not manifest itself greatly 
in this state, Breckinridge receiving only 888' votes, while that last 
shadow of the Whig-Knownbthing-Union pretense, John Bell, re- 
ceived only 161. The vote, then, was a vigbrous protest against 
Proslavery preponderance, as well as that vacillating policy, which 
at any moment might take a summersault in the same direction. 
We must injustice to the Democratic party, as it manifested itself 
in this state, assert, that the great majority of them were subse- 
quently war-democrats, and setting aside minor distinctions be- 
tween themselves and the Republicans, supported the government 
as counsellors and as soldiers. Of this we will have occasion to 
speak afterwards. The election of 1864 giving Lincoln 83,458 
against McClellan 65,884 showed some reaction in favor of democ- 
racy, based, no doubt, on the mistaken notion, that " the war was 
a failure." Nevertheless Wisconsin was Hot willing to "swap 
horses in the middle of the stream." The strength of the Repub- 
lican party was displayed in 1868 in the first election of Gen. 
Grant to the presidency, he receiving 108,587 votes, against 84,710 
for Horatio Seymour. Nor was his majority very much dimin- 
ished in the second election, in spite of the opposition of the Lit- 
eral Republicans who voted for Greeley. The vote stood 104,992 
for Grant against 86,477 for Greeley. Th6 increased democratic 
vote, however, otrght to go to the credit of the Democrats inas- 
much as it shows; that they were liberal enough to support a man, 


who had fought the party in former times with all his force and 
power. • The contest between JIayes and Tilden was very much 
closer, and stood Hayes 130,068, Tilden 123,927. The scales weye, 
however, turned the other way in 1880, when Garfield received 
144,^97, against Hancock; 114,634. At the same election. Weaver, 
the Greenback candidate, received 7980 votes. The last election 
showed a considerable falling off in the Republican majority, 
Blaine receiving 161,157, and Cleveland 146,477 votes, besides St! 
John, Prohibition candidate, 7>656, and Butler, People's Candidate 
4,598. Of thC' votes cast outside of the regular parties we .may 
asorib'fe the votes of Butler to a general dissatisfactian with the 
Republican nomination, to which, also, a considerable portion of 
the increase of the Pemofiratic, vote may be ascribed, Party: feel- 
ings ran high in this county, as . elsewhere, in some of the presi- 
dential elections, but we can not remember that they ever led 
to any .serious excesses. i ; 

From this most important, and also most exciting phase of 
our elections we turn to the gubernatorial contests, which some- 
times, also, waxed rather hot. The list of Governors of this state 
shows a succession of Republicans, only once interrupted by the 
election of William,,R. Taylor in 1873, from the election of Coles 
Bashford in 1855 to the present incumbent Gen. Rusk. 

The Gongressiopal District in which our county is situated, 
has been represented by a Republican at least since the 3lst Con- 
gress, and will be so in the 50th- Most of the State Senators from 
this district we];e Republicans, with the exception of the first few, 
who were probably Democrats. The Members of the Assembly 
during the time, when Buffalo County formed an Assembly Dis- 
trict in conjunction with other counties were also Republicans, but 
since Buffalo County became in 1867, either as a whole, or in part, 
an Assembly District for itself there were quite a huinber of the 
members Democrats. This shows that party li he's iri local con- 
tests were riot always rigidly observed, and that personal prefer- 
ences very frequently overruled fhcm entirely. The policy of mak- 
ing nbminatidns for offices hfeld in the county or for the coianty, 
dependent on party fidelity, or, as it is often the case, on obedience 
or submission to the dictates of party leaders, has been tried, and 
some times successfully, in this county as well as in almost every 
otheB pJs-pe in Ibe Union^ ]^ut it can. not be relied on at present. 


Of course, during war times political feelings were hot, ^and the 
battles fought down south found their microscopic counterparts in 
every corner of the land. The missile weapons were words, and 
some bitter denunciations from either side were bombshells ; the 
itinerant stump-speaker was on a raid, local committees were on 
skirmish lines, and it was impossible to prevent the irregular 
; forces from discharging their pop-guns. But the people of this 
county were unquestionably patriotic, and in an overwhelming ma- 
jority RepublicanSi during that time, so that there was little chance 
for any serious encounters. Before the war some skirmishing was 
done on account of county -matters, the hifetory of which will be 
given under the head of County Organization, as it would be a 
euphonistic exaggeration to call it politics, when the horizon of 
our perception of right and justice is limited by the view we take 
from our own threshold. This also applies to the little irritations 
caused by the contact of different nationalities, which, like every 
other contact, can not always be accomplished without more or 
less friction. These frictions were sometimes felt in the earlier 
years of our intercourse with each other, but have disappeared 
very largely, especially since the children of different nationa,lities 
have for years attended the same schools. We may now be in- 
clined to look upon the manifestations of patriotism, of the party 
stripe, or of a local description, or of the nature of national preju- 
dice, as upon something foolish or unjustifiable, yet it must be ad- 
mitted that it was never considered as a reproach, and if sincere 
has its origin in generosity towards those, with whom nearer ties, 
accidental though they may be, have connected us from the time 
when impulses were stronger than reason, and we sometimes still 
use the reasoning faculty more for a weapon, than for a moderator. 
If, however, I admit, that prejudices of that kind haye largely 
disappeared among our fellow-citizens, I am nevertheless aware of 
the fact, that they are occasionally stirred up by unprincipled 
politicians for their own selfish objects. Political education, though 
it has made great progress amongst us, is certainly not yet perfect, 
nor will it ever be. 

It would have been easy enough to bring up entertaining re- 
miniscences of ebullitions belonging into this category, and allu- 
sions, especially to some local animosities can not be entirely sup- 


pressed, but of all such things we maystruiy-say: " iThe less-flaid, 
the sooner mended." 

Perhaps it would be well to apply this proverb to ai review of 
the present status and future prospeets ofthe existii^ political 
parties. These parties are : Republicans, Democrats, P-rohibi- 
tionists, Socialists, who divide into Labor UnioDMen^ Land'Re- 
formers and Anarchists. The Republicans and Denkoorats are 
well organized, have their acknowledged leaders, and also th«ir 
reliable followers. They are, howevfcr, languighingffor wantpf4ive 
issues. The Democrats accuse the RepiiibUoaffla^.tbe.lea&t allusion 
to the " late onpleasantness " and- its. still, exisiting ooosequence, of 
swinging the "bloody shirt." The Eepiildi^ns retaliate by allu- 
sions to the '^Rebel Yell." For the balance, •both paities w^aot to 
be in office, which is not very likely to happen, 'iaiid 'Will .aot last 
very longy if it should come to pass. . So far <the,gr»ft< body Of 
voters in this county has been toarebaled 4n these two ©ai»^ by 
the force of habit rather than by. any de<jid^ -pasttaaawbifUftitbw 
way. There is among > our fellow citizens no :great ambition to 
fight over fossil issues. Tariff: refpiip :Bei@{iiked to .bie<3opie -a l^^ad- 
ing topic, coming out in the shape of.a,freei-,trade,plank of-a iP<^- 
OGi^tic platform, but the party was afraid to stand upomthat 
plank, just as the Republicans were aftaid of announcing them- 
selves decided protectionists. Whi^e thus thera issome ^pftthy ; in 
the old ranks, a new party has devieljoped.a c(Hi8ider^blesti;«Bgtb. 
It must be confessfid that its avowed priadplear are old, enough to 
be good, if age would work on them asitisaaid to work on wiiae. 
This party is the Prohibitionists. The^um totfilof-theit plfltfwm 
and principles is: " Thou sh alt not eat' of the .forbjd4^'i fewit-" 
I think there is something lik« that' in the fiirst;few cbapl^is of the 
book of " Genesis." TJiere is ailsD the punishment. for disobf^^ijg, 
and the result of the first prohibition. Pra^tJeayjy, hosnever, ^i^d 
the Prohibitionists are in their waymot .entirsely iu^Bftctififtl, 'their 
principle is: "Thou shalt not do what I can .ps^vent." They 
ought to call thenaselves Preventionists. We are aiQqi*a,inted'with 
their arguments, which are about the same- that we -had to Ifeten 
to in the nursery. It is not good for you to do this,.and you .will 
get sick, if you eat that, and I must keep scissors and knives out 
of your reach, because you will hurt youi8elf,,sure. vWe have a 
right to do so, because we are your guar^j^ep and refipopsibl© for 


your welfare,' both temporal and . eternal. . Therefore- we want to 
prohibit the manufacture, use and sale of liquors of all kinds, and 
, in. order to make sure of. the 'effectiveness of the law, we want to 
keep a spy upon your tracks, we want to have a right and warrant 
to entet your premises, your private dwellings, to put our noses 
intdthe'mosf secret recesses of your cellars, and to conyict you of 
a crime,=the awfuLcrime of' having done as you chose. This party 
is rabt' yet very strong in our county. There are people who prac- 
tice temperaiicej or total abstinence, as it is sometimes called, and 
some of them would be inclined toward • prohibition, :but many of 
them say, • that every person ought to bn able to. govern his own 

-appetite; and none else liable to' prosecution but those who' do 
actual wrong. .Stragglers froth either of the old parties coquet 
with the Prohibitionists- in' order to get their political support. 

'This makes the: party vain, and one day it maycome out and 
challenge the old parties,' and its imaginary balance of power will 
become invisible evetJ^tothe eyes of faith. 

This next party to be looked at would bfe the Socialists. The 
teriii has become somethingof a reproach, on oneside because of the 
unwarranted atJtiohs 'of 'Some persons who profess to belong;to -the 
party or pdlitlcal Beet, oil the dthet side becausfe of a misapprehen- 
sion of the nime. Theoretically a Socialist is no more than a per- 
son' who wishes to impr6Ve the socinl condition of mankind in 
general, a'tid of those classes of it in particular, who feel the neces- 
sity- of sucK'irriprovement more keenly than some other classes, 
and' whb-'maintiains the right of every one to -Work his o.wn salva- 
tion in this "particular point, either by his 'own private exertion, 
or' by combining with others for the saine purpose. ■ Solneiof the 
most 'effective m'eaiis for this"- purpose; thoiigh not under that 
name, Irave already been admittedanto practice, arid, indeed, every 

'public improvement is socialistic, in the true nieaning of the word, 
as far as everybody is compelled, in one way or another, to con- 
tribute his share, sometitnies much against his will and consent. 
A's I do not, however, mean to write an exposition or a panegyric 
of this-' idea, or of the party which pretends to represent the mo- 
dern phase of it, I will turn to the divisions under which the said 
party appears in politics atad in social life. The most important 
division is the one;'Wt!(i<ih manifests itself in the combinations of 

• working men for mutual 'protection and the achievement of what 


they consider their particular rights. This idea is the basis of 
such organizations as the Knights of Labor, Labor Unions in: gen- 
eral, Trades Unions and associations of a similar name and nature. ; 
The fact that capital combines for its own advantage, and some- ' 
times disadvantage of everybody else, is so potent that it is not 
surprising that labor, finding itself in danger, real or imaginary, 
should do the same. Whether capital and labor represents two 
distinctly opposite interests is another question. So is who is 
a laborer? But, all having, at least theoretically, the same rights, 
we can not deny that laborers may associate, and work for what 
they consider their own or particular interests. I am not aware of 
any lodges or other combinations of the kind existing at present 
in this county. We come now to the Land Reformers. In our 
days and generation the phenomenon of concentration of land in a 
few hands, be it for use, be it for speculation, or for some other 
purpose, is conspicuous. That in a country where large estates 
are in the hands of some few, there is a possibility, even proba- 
bility, of many having no land at all, nor, eventually the means of 
procuring any, no one will deny. To prevent this is the object of 
Land Reform. We have nothing to do with the means by which 
this reform is to be brought about, for there we may be of many 
opinions. Of this particular branch of Socialists there are no' re- 
cognizable organizations among us, though there may be some in- 
dividual enthusiasts of this species. Anarchists would find but a 
cold reception among us. Not that everybody is contented, nor 
that there are none, who claim that law and government are good 
for nothing, if not worse. But all of them, in second sober thought, 
would or do practically admit, that it might be worse, if everybody 
would attempt to do what nobody wanted him to. The Anarch- 
ists, who charge all the ills of life to laws and governments, are the 
counterpart of other fools, who expect that laws and governments 
should, or could make everything perfect according to everybody's 

I almost forgot, that we have among us some Greenbackers, 
some advocates of fiat-money, and of unlimited silver-coinage. 
They are, however, scarce, and not one of the latter would refuse 
one hundred cents on the dollar, if they could get them, instead of 
eighty or eighty-five which they do get. 

On the future of politics in this county I feel no vocation to 


sp«calat*. Tt would be atout as wise as prophesying the weather 
for any day. next year, and about as useless, and besides, there are 
people eitotlgh, who consider, themselves better qualified for that 
business than I do consider. myself. 



The political otganization of this county has a history in 
which a humcirous feature should not be suppressed'. In the first 
half of the year 1853 there resided at MonteviUe, now the village of 
Trempealeau, the three brothers, Wesley, Marvin and James 
Pierce, without any premonition, that soon they would be called 
upon to play quite a role, each in his peculiar vocation or capacity, 
in a new county, of which one of them, in a political sense, was 
destined to become iather. Passing through MonteviUe, John 
Buehler, on his way to his former home in Grant County hap- 
pened to make their acquaintance, expressing the desire of the 
people of Holmes' Landing and neighborhood, , to receive the bles- 
sing of civilization by being set oflf as an independent body politic 
called a county. His idea was that his new home belonged still 
to La Crosse County, which, indpeed, at that time, as far as he and 
his neighbors knew, was bounded at the north by Buffalo or Beef 
River. But by an a.ct of the legislature approved February 11, 
1853, all that portion of county, north of the township line be- 
tween Townships 18 and 19 extending from Adams County to the 
state line in the Mississippi River, was set off into a separate 
county, to be called and known as the county of Jackson. At all 
events his sug^esition was worked upon, and Marvin Pierce went 
up to Holmes' Landing, and there was furnished with pecuniary 
means for carrying out the scheme. The legislature had been 
called to an extra session and we find in the session laws of 1853, 
page 98, the following: 


'' An Act, To divide the county of Jackson and create the counties 
of Buffalo and Clarice. 
The people of the State of Wisconsin represented in Senate 
and Assembly do enact as follows: 

Section l. All that portion of the county of 
Bt,,, .!.,.:.« Jackson lying west of the range line, between ranges 



seven and eight, (7 and 8) west of the fourth princi 
pal meridian, be and the same hereby is organized 
into a separate county, to be called and known by 
the name of "Buffalo;" and all that portion of the 
said county of Jackson lying north of the township 
line between township twenty-two and twenty-three 
(22 and 23) and east of the range line, between ranges 
three and four (3 and 4) west of the said fourth prin- 
cipal meridian, be and the same hereby .is organized 
into a separate county, to be called and known by 
the name of " Clarke." 

Sec. 2. On the first Monday in September next 
the ielectors of the said counties of *' Buffalo" and 
" Clarke," shall each elect a county judge, and the 
said counties from and after the first day of January, 
1854, shall be organized for judicial purposes. 

Sec. 3. The electors in the said counties of Buf- 

'"""ofB°e'r.'^°°°'' falo and Clarke, shall at the general election in No- 
vember next, elect all county officers necessary for a 
complete coUnty orgahization in each county, and it 
shall be the duty of the county treasurers and clerks 
of the board of supervisors thus elected in each of said 
counties, at least four weeks previous to the spring 
election in 1854, to divide their respective counties 
up into as many towns as they shall deem expedient 
for the convenience of the inhabitants; and until the 
said division be made, the county of Boflalo shall re- 
main as one town, and the county of Clarke shall also 
remain as one town. 

Sec. 4. The polls necessary to be opened for 

Election, hsid. thc elcctions provided for in this act shall be opened 
in Buffalo county at Holmes' Landing, and in Clarke 
county at O'Neil's Mill; and the returns of said elec- 
tion shall be left with the inspectors of said elections, 
and the said inspectors shall within ten days from the 
holding of any election, issue certificates of election to 
the persons elected to the respective ofiices. 

Sec. 4. The county seat for the county of Buf- 

bSIoU™!,."' falo, is hereby located on section one (1), in township 


• number nineteen (19) north, range number twelve 

(12) west of the fourth principal meridian. 
ct^ZlX."' Sec. '6. The county seat for the county of Clarke 

is hereby located on section two (2), township twenty- 
four (24), range (2), west of the fourth principal 

Sec. 7. The circuit court, shall be held in the 
coopu. gg^j^ counties of BufEalo and Clarke, at such times as 
shall be appointed by the circuit judge. ' 
Apiproved, July 6, 1853. 

- As will be seen the county of Buffalo extended across Trem- 
pealeau River two ranges, or twelve miles east of its present limits 
in that direction, and included not only the village of. Mbnteville, 
but a;lso the situation of Gal^ville. After the publication of the 
law there was dissatisfaction in different ■ quarters. The ' people of 
Holmes' Landing were scandalized by the fact, that the county- 
seat of Buffalo County was located upon the Sand Prairie, insteasl 
of in their village. Judge George Gale, the founder of Galesville, 
who possibly had an eye on a countyseat himself, but was by the 
•act euchered out of that chance, did what was to 'be done in the 
matter. Buffalo Cfeunty being, according to the description in the 
act'Betting it off, too small to be divided, that is less than 900 
square miles, we find in the session laws of 1854 the following: ' 

.. . . : CHAPTER I- : , .-:._:. 

An Act to altach a part of the Ooimty' of Chippewa to the 
County of Buffalo. 

The people of the State of Wisconsin, represented in Senate 
and Assembly do enact as follows: , :, 

TaH lo ^e attnctied. 

Section 1. All that part of 'the county of Chip- 
pewa situated south of the township line between 
townships twenty-'four and twenty-five north, and 
between the main channel of Chippewa River and 
the range line between ranges nine and ten west, is 
hereby set off from the said county of Chippewa and 
attached to the county of Buffalo, and shall here- 
after constitute a part of the said county of Buffalo. 

280 organization- 

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force 
from and, after its passage^ - .. 
Approved, January 24, 1854. 
Published Jan. 25,1854. 

By this act the,coi;nty had become so long that the division 
of it was no longer unconstitutional,- and Chapter 2 of said session 
laws was: 

An act to organize the <io2mty of Trempe-a-V'eau. 

The first section or paragraph of this act reads as follows: 

Section 1. All thatportion of country embraced in the fol- 
lowing boundaries, is hereby set off into a separate county, to be 
called and known as the countyiof Trempe-aJ.Veau, to wit: Begin- 
ning at the point -on the Mississippi River, where the line between 
townships 17 and 18 north strikes said river;, thence: running east 
on said line to the main channel of Black River; thence up the 
main channql of Black River to the, line between townships 18 
and 19 north; thence east on said line to- the range line between 
ranges 6 and'7 west; thence north on isaid range line to the line 
between townships 24 and 25 north; thence west, on said line and 
to the line between ranges 9 and 10 west; thence' south on said 
range line toTrempe-a-lVeau River;, thence down the main chan- 
nel of Trempe-a-l'-eau River to the Mississippi' River; thence 
down the main channel of the Mississippi River i to the place of 

This still left all of township 18 ranges 10 and 11 lying west 
of Trempealeau River a part of La Crosse County, an oversight 
which was remedied in Section 1 of Chapter 35 Session Laws of 
1854 entitled: 

An act to divide the county of La Crosse and organize the 
county of Monroe. '' ' 

Said Section 1 reads: 

"Section 1. All that portion of the county of La Crosse situ- 
ated and lying west of the main channel of the Trempealeau 
River is hereby set off and attached to, and hereafter shall consti- 
tute and be a part of the county of Buffalo." 

This was the very land always supposed by the settlers of 
that time to have belonged to Buffalo County by the first act of 
organization. They knew the situation, but the legislature and 
their lobb.-ist,, Mr Pierce, were ignorant of it, the latter probably 


only of the description. The remainder of the above cited^act 
relates exclusively to Monroe County. 

This fixed the boundary lines between the two counties as 
they have ever since remained. The seat of justice or the county- 
seat, as it is generally called, for Trempealeau County was fixed in 
the Northwestern quarter of section 33, township 19 north, range 8 
west, not, indeed the site of the present village of Galesville, but 
opposite to it on Beaver River or creek, where the millnow stands. 
The two organizers of the two counties resemble each other in try- 
ing to get personal advantage out of the' legislative acts, by having 
the county seats located where they'respfectively owned real estate. 
But though the county seat does not hbw' ifemain at the place, 
where Judge Gale had located it, it must still be confessed that 
the location, especially at thM date atid for a number of years 
after it, was a central and acceptable ' jylaCe fdr the population of 
Trempealeau County, while that 'selected by Marvin Pierce was 
neither central, nor otherwise fit for 'the purpose and his action 
must be set down as a barefaced speitulation. That ultimately he 
did not realize anything from this audacious scheme can not be 
set down to his credit, as he certainly hM the good will to make 
it pay, nor was his disappointment a^dtlsf&ctory expiation for the 
unnecessary or useless expenses ihcurred, arid the bad feelings 
aroused among the pfe'bple of the neighborhood. The Pierces, or 
any of them, never resided upon the place Selected for the county 
seat, but gaining control of almost the whole of what is, with more 
truth than imagination called the Sand Prairie, they laid out 
the town of Upper Fountain City, which, hoVPever, was never set- 
tled and long sinbe vacated. If in after times' the corner of Sandy 
Hook afforded any livelihood to different parties in succession, it 
was, because travel from arid to ' Waiimaudee, Belvidere and Alma 
took that direction across the mill-dam of which we will have oc- 
casion to speak afterwards. The proceedi'ngB of the county board 
of supervisors will afford instances enough for that purpose. 
Part of the organization, as will be seen by reference to the act 
creating the county, was an electicto to beheld at Holmes' Land- 
ing ^hich was appoirited and held at that place, on Sept. 1, 1853, 
of a county judge, and, afthe general election in November of the 
same year, of the necessary county officers. It was also by the 
organig &ct the duty of the county treasurer arid the clerk of 


the county board of supervisors to divide the county into town- 
ships suitable to the convenience of the inhabitants for the pur- 
pose of establishing town governments, in default of any action 
on the part of said oflScers the county to remain one township. 
The township was by common consent rather than any explicit 
proceedings called by the same name as the county i. e. Buffalo. 
By an appeal to that veteran of politicians John Buehler, Sen., I 
was enabled to procure a list of those who voted at the first elec- 
tion, required by the act creating the county. They are: 

1. John Buehler. 

2. Christian Wenger. 

3. Caspar Wild. 

4. Andrew Barth. 

5. John Haeussinger.- 

6. John Aldermatt. 

7. Frederick Binder. 

8. James M. Pierce. - 

9. Marvin Pierce. 

10. Adam Raetz. 

11. Henry Goerke. 

12. Jacob Bronnenkant. 

13. Adam Weber. 

14. Henry Keller, (Creek Valley.) 

15. Lawrence Dressendoerfer. 

16. Ulrich Kritzenthaler. 

17. Geo. Zimmermann. 

18. Henry Funke. 

Among the strange occurrences at this election may well be 
put down, that Charles Bipes, or Pipes, was elected clerk of the 
county board of supervisors without having himself voted, he at 
that time living in what is yet called Piper's or Pipes' valley. The 
small number of votes does not indicate that there were not any 
more inhabitants in the county as then organized or set off, but it 
indicates, that for want of roads and bridges, and other facilities of 
travel, those not in the immediate neighborhood of Holmes' Lan- 
ding did not participate in the election, So for instance, it would 
have required about 24 miles of travel by skiff, for those living at 
Twelve Mile Bluff (now Alma) and return by the same route, to 
appear at that election. No wonder they did not come to it. 


After the elections required by the act of organization had 
been duly held, the oflBcera qualified in due form of law, and every 
thing was ready for the beginning, the county entered upon poli- 
tical and administrative life on the first Monday, being the second 
day of January 1854. Political life is related under the head of 
" Political History." Under the head of " Organization " I pro- 
pose to relate all the events that are connected with the adminis- 
tration of the county as such, the meetings of the County Board of 
Supervisors and such of their proceedings as were not mere rou- 
tine work, and also the result of such elections held in the county 
as related to the County Judges, and those officers which were from 
the beginning, and are at present required by law for the adminis- 
tion or execution of such affairs, as may come under the jurisdic- 
tion of each of these officers. 


The County Board of Supervisors in this as in any other 
county of Wisconsin consists of the Chairmen of Supervisors of 
the different towns, and a stated number of delegates from the in- 
corporated cities and villages, and the Clerk of the County Board 
usually denominated the County Clerk, who, however has no vote, 
though he, or his deputy, is an integral part of the board. This 
was the original plan, but was changed by Chapter 129 Session 
Laws 1861, so that from Jan. 1862 there were three commissioners, 
especially elected for the purposes and functions of the county 
board and called by that name. The commissioners were elected 
by districts, and supposed to represent them, and the number of 
districts was afterwards changed to five. Soon after this change 
the Supreme Court of the state decided that the institution of a 
board of commissioners instead of representatives of each of the 
towns, was unconstitutional. Then, of course, the original county 
board was re-established and continues up to present time. Its 
annual and only regular meeting begins on the second Tuesday 
after the first Monday in the month of November in e.very year. 
Special meetings may or must be called by the Chairman of the 
board at the request of a specified number of the members. As 
the members are town-ofiicers, who are elected in spring it may 
happen, that a majority of the old members, and even the chair- 
• man of the county board are not re-elected. In case of a special 
meeting, there would then have to be a new organization. Each 

284 011GANI2ATI0M. 

board organizes by elpfiting a chairman for.. the 3' ear, who usually 
appoints the necessary committees, which might be called the 
working organization. As the work assigned to these committees 
is really the work of the cqUnty board, I will introduce it in thajt 

I., Committee on Assessment. 

This committee is really a board of equalization for the whole 
county, balancing the work of the assessors of all the towns ancj 
corporations, which has been separately subjected to the correc- 
tion of the local boards, into some harmony among the whple 
number. Some consider this the most important committee, as 
the state and county taxes are levied upon each "town by the scale 
thus made up. As most private citizens appear as poor as possible, 
when the assessor comes round, so every town tries to be poor in 
comparison with others before this- committee. There are never 
less than five members to it. 

2. Committee on Claims. 

There are always a number of accounts against a county whiph 
must be examined before they can be allo\ved. This exanjina.tion 
is the work of the committee on claims, which is sometimes sub- 
divided or assisted by a separate committee for examining the 
accounts of Justices of the Peace for criminal prosecutions, or in- 
quests of dead. The district attorney, who is, ex-pfficio, the legq,l 
advisor of the county board in all such matters, ismore often called 
to the assistance of this committee than to that of any other. This, 
however, does not indicate that there are very many claims 
against the county, which are dubious, in fact, or should 
jected on general principles, but. that some prescribed form in 
making such claims are very often overlooked. 
8. Committee on Finance. 

The business of this conmmittee is the investigation of ac- 
counts of all officers, who receive and disburse the money collected 
by the county for taxes, fees and interest on tax certificates. The 
work is always done by the: officers beforehand and the committee 
has seldom much more to do than to test the accuracy of it, as it 
appears on the face of the different reports. This committee draws 
up a financial statement for the basis of levying of taxes. 
4. Committee on Ways and Means. 

This committee takes under consideration such petitions of 


appropriations for one or the other towns usually for the purpose 
of assisting in the building, improvement or repair of some road 
running through, several towns and used by all of them, or some 
bridge situated in such a road. 

5. Committee, on JRoa^s and Bridge^. 
There are some roads which may legally come under the, con- 
sideration of the county board, whether they should be, built or 
not, whether or not any subvention should be granted for them, 
and what, in general, should be done about them. The same ap- 
plies to some bridges. These matters foxm the material for con- 
sideration in this committee. 

6. Committee on Towns and Boundaries. 
At first, about thirty years ago, when towns began to be laid 
out, they were constructed according to township and range lines, 
from the maps, and but little, if any, regard was had to the future 
accommodations of the inhabitants for travel and intercourse. 
That other errors casually crept in and needed correction, was to 
be expected, and was quite excusable. After a while the necessity 
became apparent for divisions, and such divisions were often 
brought before the county board unexpectedly, and as this body 
could not be expected to be informed of every situation or locality, 
alterations were usually made upon the recommendation of the 
chairman requesting them. The more the country filled up, the 
more became it important that land should be included in such 
town as could afford the best accommodation or facility in regard 
to roads and schools, joint school districts being rather an annoy- 
ance for the administration of towns, which each sought to avoid, 
or set aside, if opportunity was oifered. So it is not to be won- 
dered at the fact that but few regular sessions of the board were 
held without some petition being presented or motion made for the 
alteration of town boundaries. These are now first considered and 
investigated by the committee. The towns being now so far 
divided and arranged that almost every one has a chance for the 
necessary roads being, laid out by the town in which he happens to 
reside, and most of the land being now settled, this committee has 
of late had " easy times," and may eventually become superfluous, 
unless some change in the laws should permit the organization of 
smaller towns. 


7. Special Committees for Special Purposes. 
Sometimes matters are brought before the board, which are 
within its jurisdictiction, but are of such a nature, as to require 
special investigation, or may be made the subject of such, for some 
legal doubts, or want of precise information as to facts. In such 
cases a motion for appointing a »pecial committee is usually made 
and prevails. The work of committees, however, is only prepara- 
tory; the board in its full assembly decides upon the propositions 
made by the comittees. It allows claims, grants petitions, con- 
firms the equalizations, accepts or adopts reports of officers, levies 
taxes, that is the state, county and county school tax, changes the 
boundaries of towns, and performs sundry other functions, among 
which is the selection of a jury list from the qualified persons, resi- 
dents of the county. The decisions of the board are made by tak- 
ing a vote on every question, after the same has been duly consid- 
ered or debated. Common parliamentary rules govern discussions 
and other proceedings of the board. The clerk has to keep a record 
of the same, called the Journal of the Proceedings, which must be 
entered into a book especially provided for that purpose. Claims 
that have been allowed against the county are paid on the presen- 
tation of an order made out by the county clerk and signed by 
himself and the chairman of the county board. 

It is with committees very much as with individuals;. they 
have their youth, the time of taking the first steps and beginning 
to gather wisdom from experience, So it was with our county 
There being at first but one town and for a while only a few' 
towns, there were but few members in the board, and frequently 
all new ones, and instead of there being less business than now 
there were, on the contrary always numerous questions, which are 
now settled, and not very likely to create disturbances. But when 
they first turned up, they created excitement and opposition. 
Such events as were of the latter kind will be mentioned in the 
recapitulation of the meetings of the county board as they occur- 
red. It will strike every reader as somewhat singular, that there 
were at first so many special meetings of the board, but in the 
chaos of a first beginning things do not only appear, but are really 
more urgent than in later times, when order and system have been 
introduced and maintained, and sources of information multiplied. 
It would be extremely tedious to relate all the proceedings, in- 


eluding routine work, of every session, and if in the subsequent I 
shall simply say " routine work," the reader will understand, that 
thereby I mean such work as has been pointed out in speaking of 
the work of the different committees on the functions of the board 
in general. The 

First Meeting of the County Board, 
of which there is any record, was held at Fountain City or rather 
Holmes' Landing, on the 2d day of March, 1854. There were 
three members, Marvin Pierce, John P. Stein, Andrew Baertsch. 
The former was county judge, having been elected in September 
1853, the two others must have been appointed in some way, since 
the meeting was before the annual town election, and, there being 
only one town, only one chairman could have been elected. The 
principal business was to designate the places for holding court, 
and the office^ of the newly installed officers, which was decided 
as follows: 

The house of Henry Goerke on Lat. 6, Sect. 8, Township 19, 
Range 11 is designated as the court house, and the dwelling house 
of each officer as his legal office. A list of grand jurors was made 

Charles Bipes, county clerk elect, being unable to perform his 
official duties, Mr. Henry Teckenburg was appointed in his place. 

The next meeting was the regular one and held on the 
14th day of November, 1854. 

The same clerk officiated. Jacob Bronnenkant, then a Justice 
of the Peace, acted in place of supervisor Flietch. The work could 
not have been of much importance, since the treasurer had not 
yet had any chance to collect taxes, nor, probably, any other 
money. It is noted, that the state tax was $122.50 and the county 
tax $52.68, probably the amount allowed for last years expenses. 

A special meeting was held 

February 5th, 1855. 

The purpose of this meeting was to commission some person 
to confer with the county board of Trempealeau County on the 
subject of building a bridge across the Trempealeau River, at 
some place near the present station of Hope. Mr. Teckenburg 
was commissioned for the purpose and a compensation of $3.00 
per day allowed him for his work. 

The next meeting, also a special one, was held 


April 28th, 1855. 

In this meeting the town of Belvidere was set off, to consist of 
Townships 20 and 21 of Range 12. The election of town officers 
was to be held on the third day of April, 1856, at John Linse's 
place, in Sec. 16, T. 20, R. 12. 

Another special meeting was held 

July 25th, 1855. 

A motion was made and subsequently withdrawn for a bridge 
to be built acrosse Waumandee Creek near the saw mill belonging 
to H. Goerke and F. Binder. It was resolved to lay out a county 
road to Alma and Waumandee via Sawmill, Sandprairieand Lang- 
don's farm. 8229.63 were appropriated or allowed for books, seals 
and such things for the county-officers. 

At the regular meeting, 

November 13th, 1855, 
Marvin Pierce and John P. Schnug were the only members. On the 
first day of the meeting Mr. Teckenburg resigned his office as clerk 
of the board, and Thomas G. Hake, who had been elected to the 
office in the general election previous to the meeting, was ap- 
pointed to fill the short vacancy, The remainder of the proceed- 
ings, is routine work. 

In a special meeting held 

March 13th, 1856, 
two new towns were laid out: 

Alma in Township 21 (probably Range 13) and Townships 22, 
23 and 24 all of Range 12, possibly meant to embrace all the land 
west to the Mississippi and Chippewa, though not so stated. 

Wauinandee, to contain the Townships 21, 22, 23 and 24 of 
Range 11. Election localities were appointed: 

At Alma, in the house of John Marty. 

At Waumandee, in the house of J. Kirchner. 

Officers to be elected April 1st, 1857. 

Therewas a special meeting of the newly elected board on the 
'27th day of June,- 1856. 

Edward Lees was elected chairman of the board. Nothing 
else seems to have been done than to make out a list of grand 
jurors, 19 from Buffalo, 9 from Belvidere and 8 ftom Waumandee, 

At the regular ine'eting of the board, held 


Nmemher 11th, 1856, 
the county board consisted of the following members: 
Alma: W. H. Gates. Buffalp: Edward Lees. 

Belvidere: Frederick Mager. Waumandee: Robert Henry. 

Mr. Gates was elected chairman. 

There was a regular order of business adopted; and settlement 
had with the treasurer. 

It was resolved to lay out a county road from Fountain City to 
Alma; also one from Alma to Waumandee, the latter to be ex- 
tended to an intersection with the Chippewa or Ridge Road. 

Mr. Finkelnburg was commissioned to make maps of the dif- 
ferent towns. 

A salamander safe for the treasurer was purchased for $200. 
The same sum was appropriated to Mr. Wesley Pierce for build- 
ing a jail 16x16 feet floor apd 8 feet high,, whenever the work 
would be accepted. $8.00 were appropriated to Adam Klingel and 
Rich. Kiel for burying the body of an unknown person. 

The state tax levied was $800.00, county tax $1690.00. . 

This meeting adjourned to the 2d Monday in March 1857, but 
the board had to hold a special meeting on the 2d day of Dec, 
1856, because they had neglected to levy a county school tax, 
which they then did in the sura of $200.00. 

At the adjourned meeting on 

March. 10th, 1857, 
Mr. Finkelnburg was appointed county Clerk, vice T. G. Hake re- 

Accounts were allowed, and appropriations made for roads 
to the amount of $900.00 

Some order was introduced into the descriptions of the differ- 
ent towns, as follows: 

Buffalo (de facto) Townships 18, 19 and 20 Ranges 10 and 11. 

Belvidere, Townships 19, 20 and 21 of Range 12. 

Bear Creek, Townships. 23 and 24 Ranges 13 and 14 and West 
Half of Range 12. ; 

Alma, Tshp. 21 and 22 Range 13 and, T.'22, Range 12. 

Naples, Tshp. 23 and 24 Range 10 and 11 and East Half 
Range 12. 

Waumandee, Tshp. 21 and ,22 of Range U and Sect. 25 T. 21, 

R. 12. 


The clerk was ordered to purchase necessary books. 

At the next special meeting 

June kh, 1857 
the following new towns were laid out: 

Cold Springs, Township 21 Range 10 and so much of the sec- 
tions 1 — 10 in Tshp. 20 of the same range, as was situated west of 
Trempealeau River. 

Trempealeau. The description is somewhat unintelligible 
but was meant for what now is the town of Cross. This town was 
never organized. 

To the above description of Alma was added Tshp. 22 in 
Range 14. Election places appointed in the new towns. 

Another special meeting was held 

July 20, 1857, 
principally for the purpose of making out a jury list. This list 
contains a number of familiar names. There were 19 for grand 
and 20 for petit jury. Mr. Orlando Brown was the new member, 
and for the first time in the county board of this county. 

At the regular meeting 

November 10, 1857, 
there was a petition for forming a town Monpelier which was to 
embrace all of Belvidere and part of Alma, but it was rejected. 

" Fixing up " of towns was still a leading topic, and this time 
the town of Cross was established as follows: 
Tshp. 20 Range 10, except what belonged to Cold Spring, and the 

East Half of Township 20 Range 11, to which is to add: Sect. 

1, 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12 of Towship 19 Range 11. 

What made my old friend Ed. Lees call his town Gross I couH 
never learn, but perhaps he " felt that way." 
Elk Greek: Tshp. 23 of Ranges 10 and 11, and East Half of Ralnge 

12. The polls to be at the house of A. P. Loomis. 
Nelson: Tshp 23 Range 13; all of tshp. 22 range 13 north of the 

tier of which Sect. 24 is the eastern one; the West Half of 

Tshp. 23 Range 12 excepting sections 4, 5 and 6. All of Tshp. 

23, 14 except sections 1 and 2. The polls were appointed to 

be held at Alexander Swim's. 
Milton: West Half of Tshp. 20 Range ll; South Half of Tshp. 

20 Range 12, and all there is of T. 19 R. 12. 

The Fountain City " Beacon " was declared the official paper 


of the county of BufiFalp,. on motion of Mr. Michael Aaron of 
Bloomington or Bear Creek, (one or the other,") as Maxville was 
then caEed. Previous to that the delinquent tax list, the only 
thing that was to be published for the county, had been published 
in the "Trempealeau Times." 

This county board put the first equalization of assessments on 
record. Mr. Lees filibustered in his own style about the creation, 
respectively organization of a town of '' Little Eagle " the where- 
abouts of which I would have duly noted, only it came to " noth- 
ing." A bounty for " wolves' scalps " was voted for, $4.00 for each 
individual of the game "lupus" that should be scalped, which 
would have to be done after killing, I suppose. There were some 
regulations of which I have hinted at the most important already. 
There was also some provision for paying that bounty, for it could 
not be supposed that the wolves would pay themselves for being 
scalped. We will find that two years later there was a surplus in 
the county treasury, of money designed to be used for wolf bounty, 
but not applied. 

There was a motion to award the county printing to the low- 
est bidder, which resulting in a tie, was negatived by the chair. 
The town of Belvidere was represented by Fred Mager, Cold 
Springs by Henry Wuertemberger. 

A special meeting was held ^ 

May 25th, 1858, 
at which the following members appeared: 
Alma — W. H. Gates. Bloomington — Ed. Doughty. 

Belvidere — Robert Strohmann. Naples— Harvey Bjown. 
Buffalo — Henry Teckenburg. Elk Creek — Franklin Gilman. 
Cross — Edward Lees. Cold Springs — Wm. Ives. 

Milton — Ferdinand Fetter. Waumandee— Robert Henry. 

Among the proceedings we find that sections 4 to 10 of Town- 
ship 19, Range 10, were detached from the Town of Buifalo, and 
attached to the town of Cross. 

Also that the name of the Town of Milton was changed to 
Eagle Mills and that of Elk Creek to Gilmanton. It was deemed 
expeditious to vacate the road from Fred Binder's on the Sand- 
prairie, to Jack Baumann on Buffalo City Prairie as a county road, 
a sage conclusion duly revoked a year after. 

Some rules were made up for the county treasurer regarding 


the assignment of tax certificates, of which there cannot have been 
a great many yet. The sum of $501.60 was appropriated on the 
construction of the bridge across Trempealeau River, the situation 
of which everybody seems to have known so well, that it was not 
particularly described in the proceedings. 

Another special meeting was held 

September 20, 1858 
in wJhich the towns were represented as follows: 
Buffalo: Wm. Willig. Nelson: Steph. Barton. 

Eagle Mills: Fred Binder. Cold Springs: Jas. Faulds, Jr. 

Belvidere: Wm. Aehenbach. Alma: Gottlieb Kurtz. 
Waumandee: John Ochsner. Bloomington and Naples, not on 
Gilmanton: And. Gilman. record, nor Cross. 

This was a board of equalization, but it is still remarkable, 
that not one of the last before mentioned representatives was pre- 
sent, although no new election had been held. The schedule of as- 
sessments made by the above board was tabulated and. entered 
upon record. 

At the regular meeting 

November 9th, 1858,' 
there were some entirely new representatives of towns, not enum- 
erated in the two preceding lists. Mr. Doughty represented 
Bloomington, which name was changed to " Maxville " in this ses- 
sion. Nelson was represented by Wilson Crippin. The board 
found it advisable to have some talk about Beiner's Addition and 
Alteration to the village of Alma, but it does not appears that it 
was any of their business. For the rest nothing but routine work 
was done. 

The"special meeting held ' 

July 11th, 1859, 
there were, according to a vote, the following members present: 
Edw. Lees, Cross. R. Strohmann, Belvidere, 

A. Finkelnburg, Buffalo. Chag. Kessinger, City of Buffalo. 

E. Doughty, Maxville. Geo. Schroeder, " " 

H. Brown, Naples. Frank Gilman, Gilmanton. 

William Robertson, Cold Springs. W. H. Gates, Alma. 
John Ochsner, Waumandee. Ferd. Fetter, Eagle Mills. 
Wilsori Crippin, Nelson. 

These names appear on record on a vote taken upon the ques- 


tioD of moving the county seat from Fountain City to Upper 
Fountain City commonly called Sand Prairie. This being nega- 
tived, John Buehler and other citizens offered to the county board 
a new building, intended and arranged as a Court house, the same, 
which now of course with needed alterations, is the Eagle Hotel at 
Fountain City. The county board, thereupon, established the 
county seat at Fountain City, as far as its authority availed. 

At this session the county road, or that piece of the road from 
Fountain City to Alma, lying between the houses of Fred. Binder 
and Jack Baumanri was re-established as a county road. 

This session, which had evidently bfeen called for the purpose 
of establishing the county seat for ever at Fountain City, had the 
effect to stir up the county seat question in general, and as the 
towns in the upper part of the county were growing more and 
more populous, they demanded that the village of Alma should 
be selected for the purpose, it bmng much nearer the center of the 
surface and of the population. Subsequent events justified the 
demand and the regular session held 

November 15th, 1839, 
was the Idst session of the county board held at Fountain City. 
The first work of the board was to canvass the election held in No- 
vember. The result was: 

Sheriff: John Buehler. 

Clerk of Circuit Court: Ferdinand Fetter. 

Register of Deeds : Frederick Binder. 

Clerk of County Board: John D. Lewis. 

Treasurer: C. Bbhri, Jr. 

District Attorney : Edward Lees. 

County Surveyor: Hiram B. Merchant. 

Coroner: Dr.' Wm. Spuehr. 

Among other, (current) accounts was also one of Newland and- 
Averill for printing; which had been before the "board previously, 
but was now settled. 

A motion was made and carried, not to' allow the City of Buf- 
falo any representation in the county boaird, uiitil it should poll 
60 or more votes on any general election. As the city had become 
incorporated by an act of the legislature of 1859,' it was clearly be- 
yond the power and jurisdiction of the board to exclude the mem- 
bers sent by the city, In fact this resolution finally ccrtigealed' 


into a petition to the state legislature to amend the charter of the 
city according to the resolution. Messrs. A Finkelnburg and J. 
D. Lewis were appointed a committee to attend to this matter. 

The board also resolved to petition the legislature for the re- 
peal of Ch9.pter 11 of Greneral Laws of 1858. I could not find out 
to what said law related, and as it is certainly of no consequence 
whatever now, and possibly was of but little at the time, I only 
mention it to show, that the county board of that time felt itself a 
very puissant body, if it is to be judged by its resolutions. 

I have now to interrupt the relation of the proceedings of the 
county board and take up the narrative of that struggle which has 
visited almost every new county in the western states, and the 
seeds of which had been sown in the very act of the; organization 
of ours. The reader, if he will take the trouble to consult this act 
in the beginning of this chapter, will find that the "seat of justice" 
for Buffalo County was thereby located upon Section 1 Township 
19 North Range 12 West. Those living in that neighborhood, may 
at one time have known something of the situation of that section, 
but those living near it could not tell me anything of the corners 
or lines when in 1883 in November I went there with R. HoUins- 
head, an engineer in the employ of the Winona & Alma Railroad 
Company, to find the northeast corner of it in order to locate the 
line of said road relative to government surveys. Mr. HoUinshead, 
who had studied the Atlas of Buffalo County, on this matter, in- 
sisted that the line must run somewhere south of F. Richter's 
house, which, however, I could easily prove to be wrong, as I had 
been familiar with the situation of the northern quarter sec^tion 
post of the adjoining section 6, ancj knew it to be located at the 
foot of the cliff, almost due east of the mill. Subsequent invest- 
igations proved that the corner we wanted to determine. was located 
in the mill pond, over a quarter of a mile north of Richter's house, 
and as I had learned the situation of the remaining stump of one 
of the bearing trees of the corner, the problem was satisfactorily 
solved afterwards. At the time when Mr. Marvin Pierce projected 
the description of Bufifalo County as found in the act of organiza- 
tion (1853,) there was, however, no pond in the place, and the said 
corner was in the bottom at the foot of the sandy slope, on the 
west side of Waumandee Creek, and, if government maps are ap- 
proximately reliable, about sixty rods from it, probably approach- 


able, at times and still stancjing. The Abstract of Ehtries in the 
ofBce of the Register of Deeds shows, that Jaraes M. Pierce, a 
brother of Marvin's, Entered Lot 1 of Sect. 1 of Township 19 
North of Range 12 West, containing 51.62 aCres on the 1st day of 
June, 1853, the very spot upon which the ftituire county seat was 
to be located, and the only part Of said' section not subject to the 
annual inundation by the high water of the Mississippi. At that 
time the place was bnly accessible by water on 'the westside, and, 
as the whole prairie was at high water a perfect islahd, and even 
at low water only accessible by crossing a narrow swamp at the 
north end on foot, it might have been called totally inaccessible. 
Mr. Finkdlnburg in his speech at the centennial celebration of the 
Independence of the United States in 1876, describes how the 
Pierces, by a windfall of fortune, were enabled to build a court 
house of lumber, which, to whomever it may have orice belonged, 
could hardly have bebn' their own. Old settlers remernber the 
shell, for such I found it to be, when years afterward I saw it on 
the hill fdcmg towards the mill, to where it had beed moved from 
its former situation, and one court, at least, I think' in spring 1859, 
had been held in it. But before the building of said court house 
as we find in the proceedings (if the county board in 1854, Gciehr- 
ke's house at Holmes' Landing had been designated ' as the court 
house, and that place, changed in the course of time to Fountain 
City, was regarded as the de-facto county seat of B'^fifalo County. 
Fountain City, as well as Alma, was laid out into a village prin- 
cipally in 1855, all of which will be related ■ at lengtTi under the 
chapter of " Population." The location of the county seat upon a 
spot which had, practically, first to be made ' accessible, was very 
distasteful to the people of Holmes' Landing, but by the second 
act of the organization, changing the situation' entirely, and put- 
' ting the centre of gravity, so to speak, into an entiMy different 
place, leaving Fountain City but seven or eight miles from the 
ttiost southern point of the boundary and in the narrowest part of 
the county, it might have become apparent to every one, that in 
due course of time the county seat would need to be located in 
some other situation. Nevertheless, if it had not been for the 
legal enactment in favor of the above described locality, it is fairly 
to be presumed^ that Fountain City would have at once set to 
work to furnisTi the necessary buildings, and thus have laid a. 


firmer hold upon the possession of the much coveted boon. It is 
true,.it offered a court house, and the offer was accepted, but that 
was at a time when other places had already acquired some size, 
and when it w^s seriously questioned, whether the county, bpard 
had a legal authority to establish a county seat in any other place 
than the one designated by the legislature., Accordingly, instead 
of a law to deprive Buffalo, City of its. representation in the county 
board, was^ passed in the legislature to enable the people of 
Buffalo County to decide upon the question whether the county 
seat should be established in the village of Alma. The vote was 
in favor of Alma, but some informalities or mistakes iri the re- 
turns emboldened the canvassers, all of whoin, as well as all of the 
county officers were either residents of or otherwise in the interest 
of Fountain City, to reject these defective. returns,, whereupon the 
case came up on a " Mandamus ',' before the Supreme Court of the 
state and yvas decided against Fountain City. 

Accordiugly the offices were removed to Alma, and by a reso- 
lution of the coUinty board, established in the house owned at that 
time by F. S. Richards, originally built by ^ Capt, E. S. Herman, 
and after being vacated by the county owned by Dr. John Ehing, 
sold by him to the firm of Tester and Schilling, it having occupied 
the site of their hardware store and dwelling. 

But Alma should not possess the dignity of being the capital 
of this county; without having to fight for it at the next town elec- 
tion, 1861, with the City of Buffalo. This young corporation, in 
which Mr. Mr. Charles Schaettle, sen-, was then the most promi- 
nent man and leading citizen, made strenuou.s efforts to wrench 
from Alma the Jiewly. acquired distinction.- At that time the own- 
ers of lots in the city, living mostly at Cincinn?iti apd other places 
south and east of this state, still entertained great expectations in 
regard to the future prosperity -of the place,- and were ready to 
make any reasonable sacrifice for its promotion, and, on the 
strength of this fact, the enterprise was imdertaken with the prom- 
ise of furnishing free of cost, a suitable court-house, of which I 
furnished the plan and elevation, Mr. Schaettle and others doing 
the canvassing, showing the plan all round the county. The 
scheme, however, miscarried, and when afterwards, Mr. Schaettle 
and some of^his thein fellow-citizens went4o Alma). to possess them- 
selves, vis at armis, figuratively, of the.ofllces and papers, they were 


prevented from accomplishing their design, ridiculed and threat- 
ened with violence and compelled to leave, at which retrograde 
movement they were serenaded by the old fiddler to the tune: 
" Wender nit bald heigo, ihr Chaiba " which translated from his 
native Swiss diiilect means: Won't you please decamp, you 
rascals! * C. H. 

This is the story of the struggle for capital honors among the 
leading communities of Buffalo County. After a short time the 
animosities roused by it subsided, the heated imaginations cooled 
off, and harmony was again restored. 

After having finished this unavoidable digression, we can now 
return to the chronicle of the county board. 

The next meeting after the one mentioned before the episode 
of the county seat question was a special one, held 

May 28th 1860, 
the first one in Alma. The county officers were ordered to hold 
their offices in the house of F. S. Richards previous to the building 
of a court house. $400.00 having accumulated from the funds 
destined to pay the so-called wolf-bounty, it was determined to 
divide this surplus among the towns and corporations. District 
Attorney Lees declared the proceedings illegal, because, as might 
be surmised from the record of the proceedings, some other person 
had voted in place of John Linse, who seems to have been chair- 
man of the Town of Belvidere, but no notice seems to have been 
taken of the attorney's objection. 

The regular meeting for the year was held 
Nmewher 9th, 1860, 
in the old schoolhouse at Alma. Nothing but routine business 
was transacted at this meeting. 

Next meeting, a special one, was held 
July 8th, 1861, 
in the same place and in it the so-called Bates' house was accepted 
as a temporary court house. The campaign of Buffalo City 
against Alma on the county seat question had compelled the peo- 
ple of Alma to pledge themselves to do as much as its rival prom- 
ised to do, that is,' to build a court house, but as this could not be 
done forthwith, a temporary abode for the officers was furnished. 
The house thus furnished was large, but scarcely more than a mere 
shell. A new court house was however at the time in course of 


erection. The board had met for the purpose of equalization of 
assessments, which up to that time was done in a separate session. 

At the annual meeting 

November 12th, 1861, 
there was an entirely new task before the board. The legislate're 
of that year had passed a law requiring counties of about the pop- 
ulation which Buffalo County had at that time to be divided into 
three supervisor districts for each of which a supervisor had to be 
elected, to serve for two years. These three supervisors were to 
have the same powers and functions as the county board as it was 
originally constituted. I have never learned the reason for this 
change, and I know that from the beginning it met with consider- 
able opposition. There is much to be said for and against the 
arrangement, and the most important objection whs always, that 
the districts could not be arranged to suit the various interests of 
the different towns. Of course, a member would have to be from 
one particular town, and the other towns belonging to the district 
might feel slighted and jealous, although they had nothing to say 
against the member elect personally. With regard to the busi- 
ness to be transacted, I think it was almost too much for three or 
even five men, but I have not heard that any serious complaints 
were made as to the administration of affairs, although there was 
always dissatisfaction for the reasons already mentioned. The di- 
vision itself was made as follows: 

District No. 1. Waumandee, Glencoe, Cross and Gilmanton. 

District No. 2. Buffalo, Eagle Mills, Belvidere and City of 

District No. 3. Nelson, Naples, Maxville, Modena and Alma. 

The Town of Modena was established at this session and to 
consist of Township 23, Range 12 with the northern tier of sec- 
tions of Township 22, Range 12. 

The salary of the county superintendent of schools, of which 
the first one had been elected that year, and was to enter into 
office in January 1862, was stipulated at $400 per annum. 

The numerous mistakes occurring in assessments, especially 
by assessing land not yet entered, could not be remedied until an 
abstract of entries was procured from the land office of the dis- 
trict, and it was ordered that iMs should be procured. 


In this session Conrad Moser, Jr., who was deputy for J. D. 
Lewis acted for the first time as county clerk. 

The three supervisors for the newly created districts had al- 
ready been elected and held a special meeting. 
January 3d, 1862. 

The districts were represented as follows: 

1st district by John Maurer of Waumandee; 

2d " by John Buehler of Buffalp; 

3d " by John Burgess of Nelson. 

John Buehler was elected chairm,an for the year. Sections 4 
and 5 of Township 19 Range 11 were detached from the town of 
Buffalo and annexed to that of Eagle Mills. The county court, F. 
Fetter, Judge, was permitted to be held at Fountain City, until the 
new court house would afford the necessary accommodation. 

Arrangements were made to procure the necessary furniture 
for the new court hguse. 

Another special meeting was held 

June 2d, 1862. 

County Treasurer L. F. Binder having died, it had become 
necessary to appoint his successor, and Peter Polin was destined to 
fill the vacancy. 

Section 36 of Township 21 Range 12 was detached from the 
town of Belvidere and annexed to that of Waumandee. It was 
ordered that the proceedings of the board should be published in 
the Alma " Journal " and the Buffalo County "Republikaner " at 
one half of legal rates. 

The citizens of Alma were allowed to hold town meetings at 
the court house. 

A special meeting was held 

September 1st, 1862. 

In this- meeting it was resolved to petition the Governor of the 
state to cause all Indians to be removed. There were none in Buf- 
falo County, and hardly a handful in any county within fifty 
miles from it, but at that time the outbreak of the Sioux in Min- 
nesota took place and everybody was scared. Panics aie always 
unreasonable, for the Indians in our neighborhood, if any there 
were, had more reason to be scared than the white population, of 
whom there were perhaps many hundredfold n;ore, who on sirs- 
picion might have made rough work with the poor redskins. 


In this session it was resolved that the following registered 
town plats should be vacated: 

City of Belvidere, Buehler's Addition to Fountain City, the 
City or Village of Upper Fountain City. 

Annual meeting held 

November 11th, 1862, 

John Burgess was elected chairman. 

The treasurer was authorized to exchange tax certificates on 
village lots in his office for such certificates on land. It was re- 
solved to vacate Bishop's Addition, the Lower Addition and Pat- 
terson's Addition to Fountain City. The salary of the county 
clerk was fixed at the sum of $800 annually. Up to that time he 
had his fees on redemption of tax certificates and other transac- 
tions. The County Judge was requested to move his official quart- 
ers to the court house. 

At the special meeting 

December 1st, 1862, 
the making up of the jury list was the main transaction. 

Another special meeting was held 

March 24th 1863, 
in which Sections 6 and 5, and the West Half of Section 4 of 
Township 21, Range 12, were detached from the town of Belvidere 
and annexed to that of Alma. 

Some discussion was held on the subject of altering the Foun- 
tain City and Alma road in such a manner as to avoid building a 
bridge at the mill dam in Eagle Mills. 

At the special meeting held 

July 6th, 1863, 
the re-establishment of the supervisor districts was the order of 
the day. No changes were made in them. 

There is something said in the proceedings of this session 
about a petition to the Attorney General of the State, or rather an 
inquiry, concerning a supposed mistake on the part of J. A. Tester, 
Deputy .County Treasurer in signing tax certificates without first 
signing the name of County Treasurer Polin. This was about the 
time when everything began to be scrutinized by the piercing eyes 
of our lawyers, and flaws, real or supposed, were made capital in 
the industry of politics, though this particular case did not afford 
Very much opportunity for that. I can not now remember how 


the matter terminated, which affordg me sufficient reason for sup- 
posing that the alleged mistake finally was no mistake at all, and 
at the worst only the omission of a customary but not essential 

The board met 

July 18th, 1863, 
for the purpose of equalization ef assessments. 

The annual meeting convened 

November 10th, 1863, 
but was adjournedto November 16th. 

It was resolved that the County Superintendent of Schools 
should receive a salary of $400 per annum, provided that he furn- 
ish from the teacher or teachers of every school district a certificate 
of having spent two whole days in the school. In case of such cer- 
tificates not forthcoming the fourth quarter of said salary should 
be withheld and he should receive but $300.00. Did it not occur 
to the gentlemen: 1. That the law prescribed the duties of the 
superintendent, and gave them no authority whatever in the mat- 
ter? 2. That they virtually made the superintendent dependent 
upon those, who by law were under his jurisdiction? 3. That a 
superintendent (.or any other officer) who needed such a whip to 
be driven to perform his duty, was not worth having under any 
circumstances ? 

This was a most unwarranted and gratuitous insult to the su- 
perintendent elect, Mr. C. F. Kingsland, and the only excuse, such 
as it is, for this resolution might be, that it was only intended to 
give the people at large a favorable impression of the severity of 
the county board in official matters. 

The salary of the District Attorney was fixed at $400.00; that 
of the County Treasurer at $600.00. 

$100 were appropriated for the purchase of a safe of Mr. Fin- 
kelnburg. The Treasurer was required to give $16,000.00 offi- 
cial bonds. 

Sections 25 and 36 of Township 22, Range 12, were detached 
from the town of Alma and annexed to that of Wau mandee. 

Adjourned to November 21st, probably to give the clerk and 
treasurer time to make up their reports. Why' they should have 
required so much extra time, does not appear. One matter, how- 
ever which had been allowed to go on and to grow into -an accum- 


ulated nuisance may have beet) at the bottom of it. This was the 
issue of illegal tax certificates, a large per cent, of which were on 
la,nd upt entered at the time of assessing it, and anotlier large 
per cent, originating in the inexperience of those, who had to do 
the preliminary work, the balance being due to other accidental 
neglects or errors, which will happen under the most rigid system 
and scrutiny. The abstract of entries, of whioh tp every tpwp such 
a part was sent in copy, as contained all the origin^ descriptions 
of the entered land had bgen in. some degree applied to the correc- 
tion of the increasing evil, and the inass of the certificates had to 
be separated and decisions made as to what shouM be done with 
the separate lots of them- The matter was, of course, very impert- 
ant, but whether it required all t|ie fups and feathers, in the way 
pf public notices and such things that was made about it, I am, at 
this distant day, inclined to doubt, There was a plain chance for 
somebody to show his superior knpwledge and consequent import- 
tance, that could not very well pas^ unimproved, 

At the specal meeting 

March 2M 1864, . 
the supervisprs were: 

1st District — Jphn Maurer, Wauinandee. 

2d District — Ferdinand Huefner, Buffalp. 

3d District — John Burgess, Nelspn. 

It was resolved, that the certificates pn lots in the vacated 
town-plats should be sold at auction during an advertised period 
of four weeks, and afterwards at the option of the Cpunty Treasurer. 

An apprppriatipn was m^de fpr the constrnction pf a bridge 
across Trempealeau River, provided that the town in wl?ich it was 
situated was to appropriate the same sum. The bridge was to be 
erected in Section 10, T. 20, R. 10, which, I think, i& abpu,t six 
miles ont of the way. 

A reppi?t on the county road tP the bridge in queatjpn was de- 
manded, from Fountain Citj' across the bluffs. 

The jail built by the City of Buffalo wa,3 to be inspected with 
regard to its fitness foj a county jail- $150.00 were appropriated 
for extra work performed in the offipe of county treasurer, mpgt pr 
all of it with rega,rd to abstracts of entries, and illegal certificates, 
probably also for getting up the plat-books and making the entries 
in the same. 


Special meeting, 

July 11th, 1864. 

Board consibting of John Burgess, FefdiHand Huefner and 
John Ochsner. Mr. Burgess was elected chairman, possibly at the 
preceding meeting, and it may also be that John Ochsner was 
present at the same. 

It was resolved that the road across or upon the mill dam in 
Eagle Mills should be surveyed, field-notes and p],at filed in the 
office of the county clerk, and fight of way secured. Specifications 
to be made, and contract advertised for the cohstruetion of the 

$500.00 were appropriated for the road from Fountain City to 
La Crosse (via Trempealeau River bridge, I suppose). Might as 
well have been appropriated for a I'oad to the moon, although, if 
intelligently expended, it was a ptoper application of money. 

$150.00 were appropriated for iffiprove1:nents in the Buffalo 
City and Waumandee road. 

It was resolved to furnish the County Superintendent of 
Schools with revenue stamps to put upon teachers' Oertificates. 

The County Clerk was ordered to prociUre an official seal for 
the Register of Deeds. 

The Treasurer was otdeted to advance the necessary money to 
defray expenses in the prosecution of the case of the State of Wis- 
consin against Christian Brucker, to be tried on a change of venue 
in Pepin County. The District Attorney to account for the proper 
use of the money advanced. 

A special meeting Was held 

September 12th, 1864. 

A proposition' wAs received of Fetdinahd Mehrmann to build 
the dam (for his own mill) and the bridges for crossing (mill 
stream and waste flues) for $1500.00. The clerk was empowered to 
make a contract, and the necessary sum was appropriated for the 

At the annual meeting 

November IBth, adpi/Sffied to' 16th, 
the salary of the County Clerk was fixed at $1000.00 and he Was 
required to give bonds in the sum of $5000,00. 

It was resolved to publish the delinquent tax lists in the Eng- 
lish and German new^ap^rg pijblisfeied iii the county, as before. 


An appropriation was made for repairing the bridge across 
Beef River, above and near Alma. 

License was granted to A. G. Remondino of Wabasha for a 
ferry across the Mississippi at that point and lo John Creese for 
one across Beef Slough at some connecting point. 

Special meeting held 

July 10th, 1865, 
mostly for the purpose of equalizing assessments. 

Mr. Remondino required to appear September 2d before the 
board to have his ferry-charter amended. 

$150.00 were appropriated for planks on the Beef River bridge 
near Alma. 

At the special meeting 

September Uih, 1865, 
Mr. Remondino surrendered his ferry-charter, and the same was 
transferred to Levy Deetz and one McClarney at reduced rates for 
the time from May 1st to November 1st in each year, charges for 
other times according to old rates. 

Resolved not to issue county orders for illegal tax certificates 
until after annual meeting. 

At the annual meeting 

November 14th 1865, (^adjourned to 15th,) 
the salaries of the county officers were determined as follows: 
Treasurer S800.00, and to give a bond of 816,000.00; District At- 
torney $400.00, and County Superintendent $400.00. The county 
treasurer's office having been plundered some time before, the 
clerk was ordered to procure a burglar proof safe. 

Appropriations were made to: 

The town of Alma for alterations on Beef River Road $500.00 

The town of Eagle Mills to improve Waumandee Road 300.00 

Robert Lees to pay expenses of Quo warranto suit.; 150.00 

Orders were to be made out for illegal certificates. 

A reward of $20.00 was voted to Otto Furrer who had found 
the county orders formerly stolen from the Treasurer's office. 

$25.00 were appropriated for the construction of an "ice- 
breaker " on the Trempealeau River bridge, to which the county 
had contributed money. 

The meeting was adjourned to 

December 18th, 1865. 


At this adjourned meeting Sections 13 and 24 of Township 21, 
Range 12, were taken from the town of Belvidere and annexed to 
that of Waumandee. The petition for establishing the town of 
Elizabeth (now Canton) was laid over until next meeting. 

The Register of Deeds (at that time Jacob Wirth) was re- 
quested to WEiTE plainly . To understand this, it must be remem- 
bered that the Register of Deeds for the past four years had been 
Otis F. Warren, considered to be the best penman in the county at 
that time. Jacob Wirth, the Register elect, was a one-armed vet- 
eran, who could, with his left hand write quite well and legibly, 
but could not be expected to handle the books of the registry, nor 
to write much into them as he would be tired out by the position 
he would have to assume for the purpose. He was also much ad- 
dicted to hard drinking, and unreliable for the actual business of 
the office. It was a foregone conclusion, that he would have to 
employ a competent deputy, and the resolution above quoted was 
perhaps a strong hint to be careful in the selection. But there 
was still another notion in the injunction. Our lawyers, and other 
quibblers, had determined that, according to law, and the deci- 
sions of " ze Supreme Court," the Register of Deeds must actually 
"write " every word of an instrument to be placed on record, and 
should not, on pains of rendering the record "void" use any 
blanks, that is, no part of the record should be partly printed and 
partly written. Thus the emphasis of the sentence is to be put 
upon the verb "torite" and not upon the adverb "plainly.'' As 
this was the last meeting in which C. Moser, jr., was to act as 
County Clerk, the board passed resolutions of thanks for his able 
and courteous conduct in the office. Although in general such com- 
pliments are as hollow and meaningless as most other compli- 
ments, and as I am afraid that they who passed the vote did not 
exactly realize the situation, yet I must say, that Mr. Moser did 
generally speaking, deserve the compliment of having been a 
capable, attentive and courteous ofl&cer. The system he introduced 
into everything connected with the administration of county 
affairs, though perhaps not perfect, was certainly superior to prev- 
ious ways, and in fact simple and comprehensible, and worked 
very well for a long time. Even at present time we see some 
effects of it, although they can not be traced out by every one. 


The new board elected at the general election in fall, held.a 
special meeting 

February 10th, 1S66. 

The members were: 

1st District — George Cowie of Glencoe. 

2d District — Henry Roettiger of Buffalo. 

3d District — Harvey P. Farrington of Naples. 

Mr. Cowie was elected chairman. 

The petition for establishing a town of Elizabeth was again 
postponed; also, an application of the City of Buffalo relating to 
the purchase of tax certificates upon lots in the place. 

$500.00, probably due on milldam contract, was appropriated 
to the town of Eagle Mills. 

The clerk was ordered to turn over to the County Surveyor 
plat and field notes on the survey of the road on the mill dam. 

A special meeting was again held 

July 9th, 1866, 
probably on account of equalization of assessments which was duly 
performed. Other business was transacted as follows: Resolved to 
pay tax certificates to towns for such taxes returned unpaid as 
they were entitled to; Appropriation made for the Trempealeau 
bridge, and $23.05 for costs in the case of the State of Wisconsin 
ex relat. Gates, against Ferdinand Fetter. 

Annual meeting 

November 13th, 1S66. 

Account of Pepin County in the case of State vs. Christian 
Bruoker, 8140.00, allowed. 

$200.00 appropriated for the road from Fountain City to Black 
River Falls, and the same amount on the Trempealeau bridge. 

The salary of the County Clerk was fixed at $1000.00 and his 
bond at $5000.00. 

Resolved to fine the member from the third district Harvey P. 
Farrington $50.00 for non-attendance at this ses^n. 

Special meeting 

January 21st, 1867. 

The several supervisor districts were represented by the fol- 
lowing members: 

1st District — George Cowie of Glencoe. 

2d District — Lawrence Kessinger of Belvidere. 


3d District — James L. Hallock of Maxville. 

Resolved not to allow any accounts against the county until the 
annual meeting. This resolution was rescinded in the next meeting. 

The abstract of entries was ordered to be completed to the 
time being. 

A strip, one mile wide, being the northern tier of sections in 
the Township 23 of Ranges 13 and 14, was detached from the 
Town of Maxyille and annexed to that of Nelson. 

The town of Page (now Canton) was set off containing Town- 
ship 24. of Range 12, and elections ordered to be held at the 
schoolhouse at Walker's Corners in April. 

Special meeting held 

May 8th, 1S67. 

Account of the Town of Eagle Mills for improvement on the 
MiUdam road rejected. 

Also to make an appropriation for the Trempealeau bridge, 
the matter represented being too indefinite. 

$200 appropriated for repairs on Beef River bridge above Alma. 

$200 appropriated to the town of Nelson for bridges. 

The town of Eagle Mills was vacated, but not divided. 

The name of the Town of Page was changed to Canton. 

The West Half of Section 33 and the East Half of Section 34 
of Township 24, Range 13, were detached from the Town of Max- 
ville and annexed to that of Nelson. 

Qrdered a desk to be purchased for the use of the Clerk of the 
Circuit Court. 

Resolved to build a Jail adjacent to the Court House and to 
begin the necessary excavation forthwith. 

Special meeting 

My 8th, 1867. 

Resolved to publish, that at the annual meeting the Town of 
Eagle Mills would be divided, and petitions for the formation of 
the Towns of Altoona and Montana would be heard. 

Resolved to charge the amount of illegal tax certificates 
against the town from which, by any mistake or neglect of officers 
of the same, it originated. 

The salary of the County Treasurer was fixed at $1000.00, and 
his bond at $42,000.00 on account of the large amount of money to 


be collected for building the jail. The salary of the District At- 
torney to be $509. 

The Sheriff was authorized to hold his office in the same room 
as the County Treasurer. 

At the annual meeting 

November 15th, 1867, 
the town of Eagle Mills was distributed as follows: 

To the Town oi' Buffalo, all that part in Range 11, in Town- 
ship 19 and the South half of Township 20, all of Town 19, Rans;e 
12 and the eastern tier of Sections 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 36, 35, and 
84 of Township 20, Range 12. 

To the Town of Waumandee the northern half of Township 
20, Range 11, and such parts of Sections 1, 12 and 13 of Township 
20, Range 12, as had belonged to Eagle Mills. 

To the town of Belvidere the Sections 20, 21, 22 and 23 of 
Township 20, Range 12. 

Besides this division there was a general change of boundaries 
for the better accommodation of the occupants of the parts trans- 
ferred from one town to another. 

The east halves of Sections 2 and 11 of Township 20, Range 
12 from Belvidere to Waumandee. 

Sections 5, 6 and 7 and North Half of Section 8 of Township 
22, Range 11, from Waumandee to Alma. 

The Town of Montana consisting of Township 2?, Range 10, 
with the next adjacent two rows of Sections of Township 22, Range 
11, was set off, the first election to be held at the schoolhouse in 
Dannuser's valley. 

The meeting adjourned to 

December 2d, 1867. 

Certain roads were designated as county roads, as required by 
a law of the preceding legislature, and a special county road tax 

Specifications of jail-building settled, and advertisement' for 
bids to be pubhshed, the bids to be opened February 3d, 1868. 
Supervisor Kessinger was to act as the agent of the board in this 

Wolf bounty ordinance of 1857 repealed. 

There was a rather animated discussion in regard to the pub- 
lication of delinquent taxlist and proceedings of the county board 


iii the German language as had been customary, which resulted in 
a resolution of continuing the custom. 

Special meeting held 

february 3d, 1868. 

The board consisted of the same supervisors. L. Kessinger 
was el&cted chairman for the year. 

An admonition was given to the County Superintendent to be 
diligerit in visiting schools. 

Resolved to publish a new advertisement with 'regard to the 
building of the Jail. 

County Roads selected in Gilmanton and Naples. 

The NE i of SE \ of Sedtion 33, Township 20, Range 11, was 
dfetached from thetown of BuflPalo and annexed to that of Cross. 

At the special meeting 

March 16th, 1868, 
the proposals for the building of the jail were opened and accepted, 
and the work contracted with Messrs. O^niiing and Giesen, and 
Henry Roettiger of Fountain City. 

Some further corrections were made relative to the distribu- 
tion of the territory of the former town of Eagle Mills. 

It may be as well to say something here about the causes 
which led to the discontinuance of the political organization of 
this town, which new has so often been mentioned in these pages. 
There was at the time some dissatisfaction in regard to it, and even 
political reasons were asserted to have caused the action of the 
county board, but I think the 'following reasons were the leading 
ones in the action of the board : 

I. The town was a small one, containing a. considerable 
amount of land that was not very productive in the way of taxes 
actually paid, hence whenever any improvements had become 
necessary of roads or bridges the inability of the town to effect 
them was the ever ready plea, for doing little or nothing in the 
matter. Especially the Milldam road, was a continual source of 
^complaints and. of appeals to the county for help. 

"2. The transportation of the towns of Waumandee and Mon- 
tana to their customary market at Fountain City had of necessity 
to pass through this town, making it irhperative that something 
should be done for the improvements of roads, the town of Wau- 
mandee being willing to do the work, if it could get the control 


over the roads, which could only be done by annexing some terri- 
tory from Eagle Mills. 

3. The town of Buffalo, of which Fountain City was then a 
part, was also largely interested in the serviceable condition of the 
roads in Eagle Mills, and willing to take care of those in the ad- 

. joining parts, but could do nothing to the purpose unless these 
parts came under its control. 

4. A division of the town was legally impossible, would not 
have been ratified by the inhabitants, and would only have enfee- 
bled the town so much more. There was, then, nothing else left but 
what was done. The subsequent establishment of the Town of 
Milton out of part of the former Town of Eagle Mills by the 
legislature in the act of incorporating the Village of Fountain City 
does not prove anything against the reasons alleged above, especi- 
ally as most of the parts assigned to the Town of Waumandee 
were left in, and still constitute part of, that town, relieving the 
Town of Milton of the care of the most expensive roads. 

Annual meeting 

November 10th, 1868. 

There was only the routine business before the board, but an 
adjournment had to be taken in order to give County Treasurer 
Beely time to make up a new report, the first one having been 
found very deficient. 

Adjourned annual meeting 

November 23d, 1S6S. • 

At this meeting the settlement with the County Treasurer was 
finally concluded. 

A special meeting was held 

January 11th, 1S69, 
in which the new board, consisting of: 

1st District — George Cowie of Glencoe. 

2d " —J. B. Oenning of Buffalo. 

3d " —J. L. Hallock of Nelson; 
organized by electing Mr. Cowie its chairman for the ensuing year. 

A resolution was passed to request, that the County Superin- 
tendent should discontinue to pubhsh school reports at public 

It was further resolved that the Member of the Assembly from 


this district be requested to oppose any changes in the boundary 
of towns and supervisor districts by the legislature. 

Another special meeting was held 

April 2d, 1869, 
and a rule established that in future any contemplated change in 
the boundary line of towns had to be duly published in the 
papers, at least six weeks previous to acting upon them in the 
county board. 

The Beef River bridge above Alma having been carried out 
byjhe ice in spring, a ferry had become necessary in the place of 
it, and a charter for the purpose was granted to Thomas Lawrence. 

The meeting was adjourned to 

May 25th, 1869, 
in which it was resolved to transfer the land on the west and north 
side of Beef River in Township 22 Range 13, which had hitherto 
belonged to the Town of Alma, to the Town of Nelson, as being 
contiguous to, and having the same interests, as the town to which 
it was annexed. 

A set of abstracts of title, which had been begun by Moser 
and Hunner, was purchased of the firm for $1,100.00, to be car- 
ried up to time by them, and then continued by the Register of 
Deeds in future. 

A special meeting was convened 

July 12th, 1869, 
in which the principal business was to divide the county into five 
supervisor districts, according to a law passed by the last legisla- 

The partition was made as follows:. 

1st District — Town of Alma, Village of Alma with the towns 
of Modena and Nelson. 

2d Districts-Towns of Gilmanton, Glencoe and Montana. 

3d " " of Cross and Buffalo incl. Fountain City. 

4th " " of Waumandee and Belvidere and City of 


5th " " Naples, Canton and Maxville. 

Annual meeting 

November 9th, 1869. 

A petition had been presented from the city of Buff'alo to be 
granted a tax-deed for all the lots on which taxes had not been 


paid for a number of years, so as to keep them out of further as- 
sessment, and to insure the payment of taxes from the remaining 
lots, the county board ordered L. Kessinger to examine the certi- 
ficates involved in the proposition^ and to report on the matter at 
the next meeting. 

It was also agreed that L. Kessinger should make the entries 
of transfers, and of newly entered land and homesteads into the 
plat books from time to time. 

The settlement with county-treasurer Beely, which was to be 
final, as he went out of ofiice, was found to be a very complicated 
affair and took considerable time, but was finally concluded, and 
everything straightened out, to turn over to his successor. 

A special meeting was called on 

January 8th, 1870, 
in which the following]m.embei's appeared: 

1st District: James L. Hallock of the town of Nelson. 

2d " J. G. Senty of the town of Montana. 

3d " J. B. Oenning of the town of Buffalo. 

4th " John Ochsner of the town of Waumandee. 

5th " J. H. Aiken of the the town of Maxville. 

A petition, to annex part of the town of Nelson to that of Alma 
was laid over in order to publish it. 

At the next special meeting 

March 14th, 1870, 
no proceedings were had, as some lawyers insisted that according 
to a decision of the Supreme Court the board was not legally or- 
ganized. The board adjourned pending an inquiry into the mat- 
ter, but assembled again 

March 22d, 1870. ' 

The petition to return the northern mile-strip of the Town of 
Nelson to Maxville, was refused. 

The town of Buffalo was organized according to a provision in 
the charter of the Village of Fountain City, to consist of all the 
parts of Township 18, Ranges 10 and 11 situated within this 
county, and of Sections 13, 14, 23, 24, 25, 26, 35 and 36 of Town- 
ship 19, Range 11, and all the part of Township 19, Range 10, situ- 
ated in this county. 

Another meeting was held 

■March 30th, 1870, 


in which the Town of Milton was organized, pursuant to a provi- 
sion of the charter of the Village of Fountain City, to consist of 
the West Half of Section 3, arid the North Half of Sections 4 and 5, 
of Township 19, Range 11, the South Half of Sections l6, 17 and 
18, and all the sections from 19 to 33 of Township 20, Range 11 ; 
also all of the sections from 20 to 36 of Township 20, Range 12. 

There seems to have been something in the rumor of a deci- 
sion of the Supreme Court, adverse to the existence of the County 
Commissioner or District Supervisor • Systein, for in the special 

May 23d, 1870, 
the hoard met according to the old custom, each town represented 
by its chairman, Peter Polin representing the Village of Alma. 
Mr. Geo. Cowie of Glencoe was elected chairman. In this session 
Section 23 of Township 22 Range 13 was annexed to the town of 
Belvidere as in some former session Sections 24 and 25 of the same 
Township and Range had been annexed to the same town, which 
however, must be a blundei: in the number of the township, mean- 
ing 21 instead of 22, the respective sections of 2l lying contiguous 
to Belvidere below the corporate limits' of the village, now city of 

The special meeting of 

June 20th, 1870, 
was mainly devoted to the equalization of assessments. 

The annual meeting 

November 15th, 1870, 
adjourned to the following day, in token of respect to Mr. Peter 
Polin, a member of the county board, who had suddenly died on 
the 6th day of November. R. R. Kempter had been chosen in his 
place, Resolutions of condolence were' passed. 

The Town of Dover was established consisting of the entire 
Township 23 of Range 10, the town to organize at the ensuing 
townmeeting, to be held at the house of W. H. H. Amidon in 
Bennett Valley. 

The salaries of the county officers were fixed as follows: 
County Clerk $1000, Treasurer $800, County Superientendent 
$4.00 per diem, limited to 200 days, but only $600 appropriated 
to the purpose. 

At a special meeting 


May 30th, 1871, 
an appropriation was made to the Village of Alma, of $2,000, con- 
ditioned on $3,500 being expended by said village and the town of 
Nelson, to aid in the construction of a road and several bridges, 
across Beef River and the adjoining swamps toward the 
peninsula between the swamp and Beef Slough. Mr. 
Harvey Brown, chairman of the town of Naples, and the chair- 
man of the towa of Nelson, together with some person appointed 
from the village of Alma to be a committee for the supervision of 
the expenditure. 

Annual meeting 

November 14th, 1871. 

Chapter 67, General Laws of 1871, required a dog-license to be 
levied. The county board determined on $1.00 each for male, 
$2.00 for female dogs. Mr. Lees was opposed to it, and Mr. 
Schaettle wanted $2 and $3 respectively. 

Bond of Clerk fixed at $5,000, that of Treasurer at $32,000. 

The town of Lincoln was laid out in parts still belonging to 
Waumandee in Little Waumandee Valley, parts belonging to Bel- 
videre and others to Montana. In this delineation the convenience 
of settlers as to roads and schools'was the great motive considera- 

At the annual Meeting in 

November -1872, 
an appropriation was made to the Buffalo County Agricultural 
Society of $300 to enable it to make preparations for an exhibi- 
tion the year following. 

The South Half of Section 14, Township 20, Range 12, was 
detached from the town of Belvidereand annexed to that of Milton. 

The County Treasurer was appointed agent for the purchase 
and distribution of stationery for the county officers entitled to 
such by law. 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1873, 
Section 9, Township 19, Range 10, was detached from the town of 
Buffalo and annexed to that of Cross. 

The bond of the County Treasurer was fixed at $40,000. 

The lot adjoining the court house lot on the northside was 
purchased for the county from Mr. Moser for $150.00. 


A memorial was adopted to pray the legislature to abolish the 
charter of the City of Buffalo. 

Also a vote of thanks to J. W. DeGroff whose official career as 
County Clerk would close after New Year's. 

Mr. De Groff had held the office of clerk of the county- 
board for a considerable period, and had distinguished himself in 
it by ability, courtesy and a spirit of accommodation very com- 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1S74, 
the East Half of the Northeast Qnarter and of the Southeast 
Quarter of Section 27 Township 22 Range 11 was detached from 
the town of Lincoln and annexed to that of Montana. 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1S7B, 
the boundaries of the village of Alma were extended across Beef 
River to include parts of Section 25 all of sections 26, 27 and 28 
of Township 22 Range 13 which were detached from the town of 
Nelson. This was done to give the village the taxes of the sec- 
tions in which it had made so expensive improvements which had 
to be maintained at considerable expense. 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1876, 
Mr. Orlando Brown moved a memorial to the legislature to unite 
the towns of Naples, Canton and Maxville again with Assembly 
District consisting of Buffalo County in part. 

The SE i of SE i of Section 4 Township 21 Range 11 was 
transferred from the town of Lincoln to that of Waumandee. 

$17o was appropriated to C. Moser, Jr., for work in the county 
judge's office which had accumulated during the last illness of 
Judge Fetter deceased. 

At the annual meeting 

November 1877, 

District Attorney Finkelnburg informed the board that, by a 
decision of the Supreme Court, tax certificates on which a govern- 
ment stamp had been affixed according to the laws of the United 
States (now repealed) were illegal, and that tax-deeds issued upon 
such certificates, and also stamped in the same manner, were void. 
This was the post festum rumination upon a subject, for which 

316 orgaMiz;A1^ioN. 

there had been superabundant cause for about 12 years, but which 
had been allowed to go on without serious opposition until the 
mischief was done. Or was, perhaps, the decision itself the mis- 
Chief? I could not yet make up my mipd upon the matter. 

Another tax had been, decided to be unconstitutional, by the 
same authority, that upop dogs. If anybody wants to learn the 
reason " why," let him ask a lawyer, if he is not one himself. But 
whether he will be much wiser by the answer, I could not say, 
probably, if he is not, it is his own fault. 
The annual meeting in 

November 1S78, 
brought nothing before the board that might not be strictly con- 
sidered as " routine business." 
The annual meeting in 

November 1879, 
witnessed some of those phanges of town boundaries, to which I 
have alluded at the introduction to the proceedings of the county 
board, as being the result of a denser settlement of the country, by 
which the inconvenience of belonging to a certain town, and not 
to the one next adjacent, is clearly demonstrated. The SW i of 
SW i of Section 7 Township 19 Range IQ, apd the South Half of 
SE } and SE i of SW i of Section 12 Township 19 Range 11 were 
detached from the town of Cross, and annexed to that of Buffalo. 
The NE i of Section l6 and the Sputh Half of SE i of Section 9 
Township 20 Range 11 was detached from the town of Waumandee 
and annexed to that of Cross. Also the West Half of SE i of 
Section 4 Township 19 Range 11 from the town of Cross to that 
of Milton. 

The proceedings of the annual meeting in 
November 1880, 
show nothing but routine work. 
At the annual meeting in 

November 1881, 
the name of the town of Naples was changed to Mondovi, prepara- 
tory to a division of the same, so that its western half, Township 
24, Range 11, should be organized into a tew town with the same 
name, while the eastern half, Township 24 Range 10 should a,t the 
ensuing town meeting become organized as a new or. separate town 
by the old name of Naples. Mr. S. D. Hubbard was the chair^ 


man of the j'et united town in this meeting and carried these 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1882, 
the East Half of Section 34 and West H:ili of Section 35 were re- 
united with the town of Maxville, much to the gratification of the 
old settlers of that town. 

A petition was brought for a road to be laid out from Misha 
Mokwa to North Pepin, and commissioners appointed for the pur- 

The land of Henry Lorenz situated in the town of Alma was 
transferred to the town of Lincoln, and the land of A. J. Beisel 
situated in the town of Waumandee was also transferred to 

Annual meeting in 

November 1883, 
some land lying in the town of Lincoln was exchanged for some 
other land of the same extent, belonging to the town of Montana, 
the chairman of each of the two towns requesting the alteration. 
At the same meeting the so-called mile-strip which is described in 
Borne other place in these proceedings, was re-annexed to the town 
of Maxville from which it had been detached some fifteen or more 
years ago. 

In the annual meeting in 

November 1884, 
nothing but the routine work has been done! 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1885, 
there was considerable excitement on account of a road proposed tO' 
be laid out from the middle part of the Little Waumandee Valley 
towards the Beef River Valley. As far as the Town of Alraa was 
concerned, ,the road was already laid out to the boundary line of 
the town of Lincoln, but the latter town by its chairman, and by 
a petition , of numerous of its citizens protested against extending 
it to the main road in the valley, while other citizens of the town 
had made an application for its extension. The county board con- 
sidered the road useful and necessarjr and requested the town 
board of Lincoln to lay it out, and determined to lay it out by a 
committee, if the supervisors would refuse or neglect to act in the 


matter. After some delay the order of the county board was exe- 
cuted. . 

At the annual meeting in 

November 1886, 
there was no other work but the usual Routine. 

General Review. 

In the above I have given an abstract of such work of the ad- 
ministration and legislature of the county that was not of common 
occurrence in every meeting. Much of that even may only be in- 
teresting to a few readers, or only a few items may be worth look- 
ing at by one person, and some others by other persons. 

It will be observed that from the beginning there were many 
special meetings, and towards the end there were none. The rea- 
son seems to be that it required much deliberation at first to set 
things right, to organize new towns and to change their limits ac- 
cording to circumstances, which were developed by experience. 
The time had to come when important changes would no longer 
be necessary, and when out of the unavoidable conflict of interests 
6ome harmony would result, which though not entirely perfect, 
would be satisfactory to most of the citizens, and would, at least be 
given a fair trial. 

In every well regulated community there must be persons 
empowered and commissioned to execute the laws. Such persons 
we call officers, and we have state officers, county officers and town 
officers, etc. 

The ioUowing is a table of the incumbents of the different 
county offices, with the time when each person was elected for the 
first time, or as the case may be, for the only time: 


JohnBuehler 1853. 

Jesse Truman ; 1855. 

J. R. Hurlburt , 1857. 

JohnBuehler 1859. 

Andrew Hemrich , 1861. 

W. H. Gates 1863. 

John Beely 1865. 

Wm. R. TurnbuU 1867. 

Nic. Philippi 1869. 


Harlow P. Farrington 1871. 

Nic. Philippi 1873. 

John Buehler 1875. 

J. M. Leonhardy 1877. 

M. W. McDonnell 1879. 

Joseph Thoeny •. 1881. 

Jason M. Pratt 1884. 

John Leonhardy -....1886. 


Chas. Bipes 1853. 

Thomas G. Hake 1855. 

John D. Lewis 1857. 

C. Moserjr 1862. 

John W. De Groff 1866. 

John Moset 1873. 

W. W. Wyman 1875. 

John Burgess ...1877 

Edward H. Waelty 1886. 

Henry Teckenburg served under appointment by the county 
board instead of Chas. Bipes, and Mr. Finkelnburg after the resig- 
nation of Thomas G. Hake. C. Moser, jr., was for more than a 
year the deputy of J. D. Lewis. 

The regular term of this office is two years, but on account of 
changes in the time of election, there were two terms of three years 
each, which makes the years of service of some of the incumbents 
of odd numbers. 

This remark aiDplies also to the other offices, and need not be 


L. F. Binder 1863. 

Christian Bohri, jr 1855. 

L. F. Binder 1861. 

Jacob Wirth 1863. 

J. J. Senn 1865. 

JohnBeely 1867. 

J. J. Senn 1869. 

Auren Rockwell 1871. 


G. M. Reinhardt 1875. 

Samuel Davis. 1877. 

Erik Alme 1879. 

Halvor A. Lee 1884. 


James M. Pierce..... 1853. 

W. H. Gates 1857. 

Frederick Binder 1859. 

Otis F. Warren ., 1861. 

Jacob Wirth *. 1865. 

Otis F.Warren '. 1867. 

J. P. Schnug 1869. 

Nic. Philippi 1871. 

Henry Bechmann 1873. 

J. M. Leonhardy 1879. 

Lutze Tscharner 1881. 


J. Adam R,aetz, 1853. 

Wesley Pierce, 1855. 

L. Seals, , 1857. 

Edward Lees, 1859. 

JohnW. McKay, 1867. 

Augustus Finkelnburg, 1869. 

Edw. Lees, 187 1. 

A. Finkelnburg, 1875. 

J. W. McKay, 1877. 

Theodore Buebler, 1881. 

Schuyler G. Oilman, 1884. 


J. p. Aldermatt,, 1853. 

Thos. G. Hake, 1855. 

Ferdinand Fetter, ■ . . 1857. 

Ferdinand Hellmann, 1861. 

Richard R. Kempter, 1863. 

Fred Hohmann, 1865. 

Math. Fetzer, 1873, 


J. W. DeGroff, 1875. 

Nic. Philippi, 1877. 

J. W. DeGroff, 1879. 

Fred Hohmann, 1886. 

county superintendents of schools, 
names: year of election: 

Augustus Finkelnburg 1861. 

C. F. Kingsland 1863. 

Robert Lees (to fill vacancy) 1864. 

James Imrie 1865. 

Robert Lees 1869. 

Lawrence Kessinger 1871. 

John C. Rathbun 1877. 

L. Kessinger 1871. 

Geo. Schmidt 1876. 

county surveyors, 
names: year op election: 

Henry Goerke 1855. 

Robert Strohmann 1857. 

Hiram B. Merchant, 1859. 

Robert Strohmann 1861. 

Emil Haeusser, 1863. 

L. Kessinger, 1865. 

A. W. Milfer, 1869. 

John Buesch, 1871. 

Wm. Finkelnburg, 1879, 

John F. Schlossstein, 1884. 


Geo. Zimmermann 1853. 

Edmund Bishop 1855. 

Dr. Wm. Spuehr 1857. 

Jacob Iberg 1863. 

Dr. A. Bodenstab 1866. 

Barney McDonough 1871. 

Dr. J. Ehing 1877. 

Dr. Newton McVey 1879. 

Jas. L. Hallock 1881. 

Barney McDonough ...1884. 


Jas. L. Hallock -1886. 


Marvin Pierce 1853. 

Ferdinand Fetter 1861. 

Augustus Finkelnburg 1865. 

Ferdinand Fettei* 1869. 

Conrad Moser, jr 1877. 

Robert Lees '. 1881. 

Judge Fetter died Oct 16, 1876, and C. Moses, jr., was ap- 
pointed by the governor to fill the vacancy. 

The following persons represent at present the county of Buf- 
falo in an ofScial capacity for the time annexed to each name: 

Robert Lees, County Judge, to January 1890. 

John Leonhardy, Sherifif, to January 1889. 

Edw. H. Waelty, County Clerk, to January 1889. 

Halvor A. Lee, Treasurer, to January 1889. 

Lutze Tscharner, Register of Deeds, to January 1889. 

Schuler G. Gilman, District Attorney, to January 1889. ; 

Fred. Hohman, Clerk of Circuit Court, to January 1889. 

Geo. Schmidt, Superintendent of Schools, to January 1889. 

J. F. Schlossstein, Surveyor, to Januarj' 1889. 

Jas. L. Hallock, Coroner, to January 1889. 

Jas. V. Jones, Member of Assembly, to January 1889. 

J. W. De Groff, Senator for Buffalo and Trempealeau County, 
to January 1891. 

A closer examination of the above tables will disclose the fact, 
that a considerable number of our county officers have been re- 
elected for the next term, or several consecutive terms, or, as in 
the case of sheriff, where a consecutive term is prohibited by law, 
after an interval of one or two terms. This shows that the men 
thus honored must have given satisfaction in the discharge of their 
official duty. It also shows, that the people appreciate a faithful 
servant and mean to express their sptisfaction. The county has 
been especially fortunate in never, during the 33 years of its ad- 
ministrative existence, having been compelled to go into litigation 
with any of its officers for any reason whatever. There are some 
doubts in my mind whether the number of votes in the earlier, 
elections might not be more properly discussed under the head of 


" Population," but the few notes L have taken on the subject may 
also stand here. 

In the election 1853 there were 18 votes, most of the candi- 
dates receiving all of them. The same number of votes was cast 
FOR prohibitory liquor law, a vote taken under Chapter 101 of the 
General Laws of 1853. This was not intended to be an amend- 
ment to the constitution of the state. 

At the next election 120 votes, probably all, or nearly all of 
them, were polled for Coles Bashford as Governor. Two years 
later the vote amounted to 526, and in 1859, 690 votes, 790 in 1861, 
and 790 besides the votes of the soldiers in the different camps in 
1863. In 1864 Moser received 803 votes, but I think there were 
more between Robert Lees and myself. 

After that I did not find it very interesting to note all the 
combinations of votes cast at the different elections. There is al- 
ways a greater number of votes at a spring, than at a fall election, 
which, among other instances, may account for the majority of 
about 960 Robert Lees carried off in his first contest for the 
county judgeship. 

An essential part of a county organization is the description 
of every town in the usual way. These descriptions have been 
given incidentally in the proceedings of the county board of sup- 
ervisors, but it can not be expected that every reader should take 
the trouble to combine the pieces detached from one or more towns 
annexed to one or another. For the purpose of giving an accurate 
idea of the extent and figure of each town, as now organized, the 
description will be prefixed to the separate history of each town, 
village or city, and it is also accurately delineated upon the ac- 
companying map. 



We find in the chapter on Indians that the canoe was the first 
vehicle for the transportation of persons and of burdens. Its 
building, the materials necessary or customary for the purpose 
and its general utility are sufficiently described in the same place. 
Its cai^acity for commercial transportation was indeed very limited, 
yet not so much so as to prevent its general use. From the narra- 
tives of early explorers it clearly appears that a canoe of ordinary 
size was capable of carrying from two to five men with their arms 
and implements, and sometimes a considerable stock of provisions 
or merchandise also. La Salle carried a blacksmith's forge and 
the necessary iron along with him in canoes perhaps divided up, 
but still consisting of heavy material. It being clearly impossible 
to man very many canoes, as one man could not be expected to 
manage a very large weight with safety and dispatch, and an ex- 
pedition of that kind requiring tools for building fortifications and 
houses, besides a heavy stock of goods for trading and presents, 
and a plentiful supply of arms and ammunition, we can form an 
estimate of the weight each of these canoes must have been cap- 
able of floating. There were, however, some limits to that capac- 
ity not dependent on size even in those primitive times, when the 
demands of commerce were as a grain of sand beside a mountain, 
compared with those of modern times. The first advance from 
the canoe, for the same purposes, and still with a view to propell- 
ing by the use of paddles, was the batteau or Mackinaw boat of 
the French traders and voyageurs. Its peculiar construction af- 
forded some advantages over the canoe, especially greater capacity, 
deeper draught, steadier course, and perhaps greater strength, which 
were set off by a want of portability and the necessity of having 
boards for the construction of it. The canoe and the batteaux re- 
mained the craft for the coasting trade and private communica- 
tion, as well as in fishing, until in quite recent times, and those 


living on Beef Slough will not fail to I'emember the fleet of bat- 
teaux brought down by the crews of tlje first log-drive in 1868. 
The skiff has superseded this ancient craft entirely at least on the 
Mississippi. On the Lakes, where there was more room for ma- 
noeuvering, sailing craft, with or without decks, 'Viih temporary or 
fixed masts and rigging soon became a necessity, but nevertheless 
increased very slowly, fast enough, perhaps, for the demands of 
commerce and the traffic of the past, but infinitely out off all pro- 
portion with present necessities or accommodations. On the rivers 
the capacious keel boat, or as we now would style it, the barge, in- 
tended to be propelled by poles stuck in the bottom of the river, 
the men leaning with the shoulder against the upper end, shoving 
the boat along by seemingly walking on the deck or on a plank, 
was used for the transportation of heavier goods, or larger quanti- 
ties. These barges were, at least partially, provided with an upper 
deck, partly to walk upon, partly for the protection of the men 
and the cargo against rain or other inclemencies of the weather. 
Most of them were also provided with temporary masts and sim- 
ple tackle and rigging for using the same when the wind and the 
water-space, or rather the width and comparative straightness of 
-the channel, presented a favorable opportunity. This poling or 
pushing of boats or barges against the current was not only a toil- 
some and tedious, but also a very unsatisfactory way of transpor- 
tation. High water, required for boats of deep draught, could not 
be made available, as it was impossible to provide poles long 
enough to reach to the bottom, and still not too heavy for managing 
by the men. At the times of low water, sandbars and rapids were 
almost unconquerable obstructions. Days, and sometimes weeks 
were consumed in lightening these barges- and conveying part of 
the goods above the rapids by land on very rough roads, or by the 
use of scows on the water. This difnculty was overcome hy the 
building of flatboats, where it was not intended to proceed against 
the stream for long distances. 

The application of steam power to the navigation of vessels 
which now is such a matter of everyday occurrence, that nobody 
takes much notice of it, had to contend, not only with the usual 
prejudices against new ideas in general, but also, quite naturally, 
with the obstacles created by the want of experience in the enter- 
prise, and which could only be overcome by venturesome expeti- 


ments, requiring untold time and money. We know that the 
problem was solved, and if we should be surprised at anything 
we should be surprised by the rapidity by which the invention or 
its application spread to all the navigable waters from the Atlantic 
to the Rocky Mountains. The first successful trip of the Clermont, 
having proved the feasibility and the advantages of the invention 
in 1807, we nevertheless find but little mention of its apphcation 
before or during the war of 1812, yet there must have been some 
progress. One of the great obstacles to navigation in general, and 
steam navigation in particular, on the western rivers, was that 
shifting of sand bars from one location to another, which made 
the progress of a boat or vessel extiemely hazardous, the more so 
the greater the force propelling the craft was. The model of a 
ship, or even a canal-boot, or anything drawing as much water as 
was considered indispensable for the rivers, and bays in the East, 
was clearly out of place on the western waters, and more especially 
upon the Upper Mississippi, which could not be reached without 
passing over the rapids of the Des Moines, and the still more in- 
tricate and shallow ones at Rock Island. The question was 
clearly, whether the boats used for the navigation of the Lower 
Mississippi could be used for that of the upper part of the same 
river, for never did it enter into th.e brain of any captain or pilot 
running upon the Mississippi at that time, that there would ever 
be, and not so very far off, either, a period, when it would not 
only be necessary and possible, but also very profitable, to con- 
struct boats for the express purpose of Upper River Navigation, 
and run regular lines of them, not merely to Keokuk near the 
Lower Rapids, but up to the Falls of St. Anthony. At all events 
it was the great surprise among river men, and not less among 
other sojourners upon the river, that in May 1823, the steamer 
Virginia,' drawing six feet of water, ascended to Mendota, ■opposite 
Fort Snelling, below the junction of the Minnesota and the Missis- 
sippi, just as the fort is above it. She was freighted with provi- 
sions, ammunition and other stores, and perhaps, also, with a re- 
lief for the garrison of Fort Snelling. She was the first steamer of 
any kind, which ascended so far, but from that time steamboats in 
government employ came up every year, making however, seldom 
more than one trip, always of course, at high water. At first, I 
suppose, the crew went into the woods, where they were accessi- 


ble, to procure the necessary fuel. It did not, however, take many 
years, until wood-yards began to be established at convenient points 
along the river banks. Pioneers of different kinds, some of them 
bent on traffic with the Indians, others for the love of adventure in 
hunting and trapping, others again with a distant expectation of 
settling down for the remainder of their days in some plnce in this 
wilderness, that would suit their fancy or their means, began to 
Eitring themselves along the great natural highway, putting in a 
winter's work to take their rest in spring and summer, when they 
sold their wood to the boats and bought of them such provisions 
as they could not procure by hunting and fishing. It is not to be 
supposed, however, that this was done in a hurry, in one or two 
years, nor that the practice of poling keel-boats up the Missis- 
sippi in the manner described wUs, or could be immediately 
abandoned. Thus we find in 1827, at the time of the Winnebago 
outbreak, two such boats upon the river, returning from the very 
top and head of navigation, Fort Snelling. How slow, indeed, the 
progress of navigation must have been, when even as late as 1844, 
the first year, in which a count and record of steamboat arrivals 
was kept at Mendota, these arrivals did not exceed 41 in number. 
From 1844 — 47 the little steamers Otter, Rock River and Lynx 
were the principal boats in this trade. In 1847, July 8th, the Ga- 
lena and Minnesota Packet Company was organized at Galena by 
the following persons. Capt. Orrin Smith, Henry Corwith, B. H. 
Campbell, Capt. M. W. Lodwick and Capt. R. Blakeley, all of Ga- 
lena; Col. H. L. Dousman and B. W. Brisbois of Prairie du Chien; 
Gen. H. H. Sibley and Hon. H. M. Rice of St. Paul. 

The first boat purchased by this company was the " Argo " of 
only sixt}' tons burthen, which was run in the St. Paul trade until 
October of the same year, when she ran against a snag, and sunk 
a little above Winona. 

The next boat was the " Dr. Franklin," purchased in the win- 
ter 1847 — 48, and put into the trade in spring 1848. In 1849 the 
" Senator " was added to the line, but in the fall she was sold and 
replaced by the " Nominee " which was run by Capt. O. Smith, 
the late president of the company. She was not run as a Sunday 
boat, for Capt. Smith would, at 12 o'clock Saturday night tie her 
up to an island, or whatever place he was near, and remain until 
12 o'clock Sunday night. If convenient and possible, he would 


have preaching on the "boat on Sunday forenoorj. The Nominee, 
however, suffered, the fate of its more unchristian brothers and was 
snagged and sunk in the fall of 1854, forty miles below La Crosse. 

The " Ben Campbell " was built in the winter of 1851-52, 
and put in the trade in the spring, but drew too m itch water, and 
was sold in th«. fall 1852. During this season an opposition boat, 
called the " West Newton,," was put into the trade from Galena to 
• St. Paul, as an about'equal match, for the Nominee. The latter in 
May 1852, made the round trip, from Galena to St. Paul and back 
in tW:0 days, seven hours and forty-nine minutes, a distance both 
ways of eight hundred miles. In the fall of the same year the 
Harrises, to whom the West Newton belonged, were admitted into 
the Galena company andtheir boat afterwards run in the line. In 
the spring of 1854, the " War Eagle,". " Galena " and "Royal 
Arch " were added to the line, and in 1855, the " Golden Era," 
" Alhambra," " Lady Franklin," and "City Bell " were added. . 

In June 1856, the opening of the Galena & Chicago Union 
Railroad gave a great impetus tpthe business,' and, the .company 
added to their line of boats the " Northern Bell," " Ocean Wave," 
" Grasite State," " Greek Slave," and " Black Hawk." 

Some boats besides the Nominee Vv^ere sunk during tKis timej;' 
namely, " West Newton " in the fall of 1853, near the place still 
called by the same name, but formerly "Yellow Banks," where 
since then a few houses were built -and inhabited, and in 1862 
abandoned; " Dr. Franklin," seven rniles above Dubuque by col-i 
liding with the "Galena" in June 1854,. In 1856 the "Ga,lena"- 
was burned. . 

Trade fell off considerably in 1858, and subsequently, but in 
1861 the packet company increased its number of incorporators to . 
about one hundred, and its capital to $400,000,-and run the fol- 
lowing boats in the upper trade: "War Eagle," "Alhambra," 
"City Bell," " Fanny Harris," " Northern Light," " Key City," 
" Northern Bell," " Golden Era," " Ocean Wave," " Flora," "Grey 
Eagle," -'Milwaukee," and "Itasea."- Some of these boats were." 
of the first class, and might well have been called " floating pa- 

The " Milwaukee " cost the company |39,000, " Grey Eagle " 
$48,000, and the " Key City " and " Northern Light?' each about 
the same. 


The "Key City" was built at Cincinnati in 1867, was 250 feet 
long, 35 feet wide, 360 tons burthen, and 51 state rooms. The "War 
Eagle" and "Galena" were of a smaller class of boats, the former 
being but 296 tons burthen, with 46 state rooms. She was built in 
Cincinnati in the winter qf 1853-54, and was 219 feet long and 19 
feet wide. 

The Galena Packet Company finally reorganized in February' 
1864, under the laws of the State of Iowa, with a cash capital of 
$400,000, under the name of the "Northwestern Packet Company," 
with general powers to run steamers, and do passenger and freight 
business between Dubuque and St. Paul. The company was 
bound by contract with the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien Rail- 
road Company to carry freight and passengers for that company 
between the latter place and St. Paul. 

In the fall of 1865 the Northwestern Company were running 
the following steamers in the trade: "Milwaukee," "Itasca," 
" Northern Light," " Key City," " War Eagle," all first class pas- 
senger steamers. They also run three light-draught boats for low 
water, and three additional steamers for freight and towing barges. 

On the first day of October 1858 the La Crosse and Milwaukee 
Railroad was completed, and opened through to the Mississippi at 
La Cresse, and much of the business of the boats passed over this 

In 1860 an independent, or opposition, line of steamboats was 
run from La Crosse to St. Paul by Mr. Davidson and others, which 
the Galena Packet Company made a spirited but unsuccessful ef- - 
fort to run off; failing in this they compromised, by forming with 
Davidson and others, a combination on the 17th of August 1861, 
which has since done a large business. 

In 1863 the La Crosse and St. Paul line ran in connection with 
the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad the following boats : 

"McLellan," Capt. P. S. Davidson; "Keokuk," Capt. J. R. 
Hatcher; "Northern Bell," Capt. John Cochran; "Prank Steele," 
Capt. Martin; "Clara Hine," Capt. J. Newton; "G. H. Wilson," 
Capt. Wm. Butler; "Aeolian," Capt. Sencerbox. 

On Chippewa River: "John Ramsey," Capt. N. Harris; "Chip- 
pewa Falls," Capt. L. Fulton. 

On the St. Croix; "Wenona," Capt. L. Brown. 


On the Minnesota: "Pomeroy," Capt. Bell; "Stella Whipple," 
Capt. Norris — in all 14. 

The combination of the steamboat interest proving unsatisfac- 
tory, the new Northwestern Packet Company and the La Crosse 
line, generally called "Davidson's Line," on the 1st of May, 1866, 
consolidated into a new company, under the general laws of the 
State of Iowa, at Dubuque, and organized a company which they 
called the "Northwestern Union Packet Company." The general 
office of the company was located at Dubuque, Iowa; and the com- 
pany organized with a capital of $1,500,000, and put immediately 
into the trade thirty steamers and seventy -three barges. 






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As all the boats that reached St. Paul must have passed by 
Buffalo County, and through Lake Pepin, this table gives the open- 
ing and closing of the regular steamboat season for the years enum- 
erated. But occasional trips were usually made, even by boats of 
regular lines, from 10 to 20 days earlier from points below as far 
as Reed's Landing, though perhaps never any later, as it is a pecu- 
liarity of the river to close about as early at La Crosse as at St, 
Paul, and much earlier than at Alma and Wabasha. At the latter 
place it has never been known to be reliably closed during a 
whole winter, so as to admit of crossing with teams, while it usu- 
ally opens one or two weeks earlier at Alma, than at Fountain 
City, Winona and La Crosse, a fact ascribed partly to the influence 
of Chippewa River and partly to the water of the lake from below 
the ice coming to the surface and expending its latent heat in 
the distances named. 

From the year 1867 the railroads in Minnesota began to come 
into active competition with the steamboats, and the latter grew 
fewer in number and smaller in tonnage from year to year, until 
at the present time, with the exception -of small stern- wheelers, 
but few boats are to be seenj and none at a low stage of water. 

The following table will show the opening of navigation at 
Winona during the years from 1875—1882, according to the His- 
tory! of Winona County: 


1875 — Lake Superior April 12. 

1876— Dubuque ....April 10. 

1877— Red Wing April 11. 

1878— Penguin Ma,rch 12. 

1879 — Maggie Reanie April 4. 

1880— Belle of Bellevue March 22. 

18i^l— Josie... April 24. 

1882— Robert Harris. 
With the exception of the Dubuque and the Josie these early 
aa-rivals were all small boats, and from th-is we may safely conclude 
that navigation did not improve much in number or size of boats, 
an(} that especially early Ventures were considered superfluous. 

In August, 1866 the Minnesota Valley Railroad reached West 
St. Paul; in 1869 the railroad bridge was built and the railroads 
crossed over; in 1872 the West Wisconsin road reached St, Paul 


from the east side and the trade of the steamboats passed to the 
railroads forever, with the exception of that on the eastern bank of 
the river. It did no longer pay to run so many boats. The pas- 
senger business was insignificant, especially after the river division 
of the Milwaukee & St. Paul road had been built. People of this 
county wanting to go up or down the river crossed to Winona or 
Wabasha, and the question had now become, how to reach these 
stations conveniently. There being, however, yet considerable 
freight to be forwarded to and froni points on the East side, the 
old lines still kept up a show of activity, and a new line of the 
"Diamond Joe Boats" started in. Joseph Reynolds, of St. Louis, 
a speculator in wheat on a large scale, found it convenient to trans- 
port his own wheat in his own boats, and. as the wheat went only one 
way, down the river, there was every inducement to transport 
other freight not only up, but also down the river. Passengers 
could also be accommodated. 

The prospectus of the 

'' Old Reliable Diamond Jo- Boats" 
for 1887 claims that boats of this line have been in operation for 
nineteen years between St. Louis and St. Paul. The line has its 
general ofnce in Dubuque, Iowa, and Mr. Jo Reynolds is its presi- 
dent. During the present season the following boats are run: 
Mary Morton. Libbie Conger. 

Pittsburgh. Josephine. 

Sidney. Josie. 

They are in fact what the prospectus claims for them: "Ele- 
gant stern-wheel steamers." 

In the paper referred to the distance between the two cities 
one forming the southern, the other the northern terminus of the 
line is given at 729 miles by thie rivei:. 

In the mean time the other problem of regular communica- 
tion with railroad stations across the river began to be solved by 
the employment of small steamers one from Alma to Wabasha 
and one from Fountain City to Winona that made daily trips dur- 
ing the season of open navigation, and one from Alma to LaCrosse 
making trips, one day down and up the next. The Steamer Lion, 
Captain Hiram Wilcox, began to run as a ferry-boat between Alma 
and Wabasha, in spring 1873 and continued in this line until the 
dose of navigation in 1886. Partly to encourage this enterprise, 


partly on account of some dissatisfaction with the management of 
the mail-service by land from Fountain City, the people of Alma 
petitioned Congress to transfer the mail-service with the exception 
of local connections to the Wabasha — Alma line, the mail to be 
carried by land in thewinter time, which arrangement continued 
from 1876 to spring 1887, when the mail-service was transferred to 
the Chicago, Burlington and Northern Railroad. As the Lion 
passed through Beef Slough as far up as the cut-off, it afforded to 
the conapany as well as the men many conveniences. 

Remark I. The steamer Lion was preceded by the propeller 
"Cornet" belonging to Levy Dutz and run by him during the sea- 
son of 1872; sold to Capt. H. C. Wilcox and displaced by the 
"Lion" in the following year. 

Between Fountain City and Winona, Wm. Heck of Fountain 
City, and Capt. Peter Schneider of Winona ran the steamboat 
"Express" from 1876 to 1880, when they sold her to parties in 
Galena, where she was to run on Fever River; in her place the 
"Robert Harris" was put the same year, and run until now, 1887. 
Circumstances for the present favor her opposition with the Chi- 
cago, Burlington & Northern Railroad upon this distance. 

The circumstances favoring the ''Robert Harris" in its opposi- 
tion with the C. B. & N. R. R. in the local traffic between Fountain 
City and Winona are: 

1. The cheapness of rate, that of the railroad being 40 cents 
each way, while the boat does not charge more than 35 cents both 

2. The chance of longer time for business with the boat and 
return leaving out of seven hours fully one half for a stay in 

3. The acquaintance of the officers and owners of the boat 
with the business men of Winona as well as of Fountain City, 
which' enables them to carry out orders in each place without the 
need of long writing and explanation. 

Similar advantages were enjoyed by Capt. Jacob Richtmann, 
who ran several boats partly from Fountain City to other points, 
partly in regular trips from Alma to La Crosse and back. But as 
with the longer di stance the chance for a sufficient time for busi- 
ness, and a return on the same day became impossible, the com- 
petition of the new railroad proved too strong for his enterprises. 


The first of Captain Richtmann's boats was the " Penguin," which 
was followed by the " City of Alma," a very nice looking craft, 
but drawing too much water for this part of the Mississippi. She 
was sold below, and sunk. The last boat was the "Percy Swain." 
The " Belle of Bellevue " was occasionally engaged on the line in 
cases of accidents to the other boats, but usually as a tug. 

We come now to the time when railroads began to be talked 
of in onr county. Especially in the northern part the people 
amused themselves persistently with schemes and projects, an oc- 
cupation for which they yet find time and opportunity, since there 
is yet (1887) no railroad in that part of the county. The first road 
crossing a very small part of our county only, from Trempealeau 
River to Bluff Siding opposite Winona, was the Chicago & North- 
western Railroad, which at that place crosses the Mississippi. — 
Some time previous there had been much speculation with regard 
to a railroad from the Mississippi to Green Bay, agitated more 
particularly by Gen. H. Sharpe of Wabasha. This must have 
been about 1867 — 68, for I remember he wanted me, (then county 
surveyor,) to accompany him in his expedition, to be undertaken 
during the winter up Beef River, and thence on until a party from 
the other direction was met somewhere. Mr. Sharpe, being very 
profuse of promises, and very unreliable regarding performances, 
did not succeed in getting my services, but I think he was accom- 
panied by A. W. Miller of Durand, who was certainly better quali- 
fied than I was at that time for such work. The general, as we 
styled him, was very anxious to persuade everybody that the road 
was going to be built up the Beef River Valley, and that it would 
cross the Mississippi at Alma, or at least below the mouth of the 
Chippewa River. He tried his persuasions in Buffalo City and 
probably in other places, for instance in Wau'mandee, but people 
failed to see how a road could be built up Beef River and at the 
same time through Waumandee and other places, not in the valley 
of that river. The main party of his prophecies, however, became 
true, the Green Bay and Mississippi Railroad was, in course of 
time, built, but it did not come down, or go up Beef River Valley 
nor cross anywhere near Wabasha, for it struck the Mississippi in 
the neighborhood of the mouth of Trempealeau River and crossed 
on the. bridge belonging to the Northwestern line. There is but 
little of the road, and only one station on it, in Buffalo County, 


but it exerted, at first especially, considerable influence on the 
transportation of produce from certain parts of the county. Ar- 
cadia and Independence, already established, but languishing be- 
fore, received the custopiary " boom " during the construction and 
the working of the new line. Everybody wanted to have a slice 
of the big fortunes to be realized by settling iuithese newly devel- 
oped centres of trade, which, also, received their best support 
from adjacent parts of Buffalo County, especially the towns of 
Glencoe, Montana and Dover, with the upper parts of Waumandee 
and Lincoln. As long as, for the sake of attracting trade, prices 
were kept up at fair positions, the other advantages, the short haul 
in some cases even better roads, could not but be appreciated by 
the farmers. Merchants from everywhere became very anxious to 
establish themselves especially at Arcadia, where even old establ- 
lished business firms from Fountain City were eager to establish 
branch-stores. Fountain City was indeed deprived of much of its 
former territory of commercial contribution, but events have not 
justified or verified the great expectations once excited by the 
sitnation of Arcadia. 

The next enterprise in railroad construction within our county 
was that of the Valley Division of the Milwaukee and Omaha 
Road, connecting JSau Claire with Wabasha, and running through 
the western part of the Chippewa bottom for over twelve miles 
within this county. By this the village of DuKand, which up to 
that time, had had but very unsatisfactury commercial connec- 
tions, rose at once to the rank of a local trading center. This cir- 
cumstance made itself felt in some degree in the trade especially 
that of wheat, at Alma. In former times Mondovi, for instance 
was about half-ways between Alma and Eau Claire, and especially 
before the latter had railroad connections, the former was the bet- 
ter place for shipping wheat, though for other produce, Eau Claire 
on account of its large floating population and manufactories and 
its intimate connection with the lumbering interests had been at 
all times a better market. But after the construction of the Chip- 
pewa Valley road this was changed at once, since Durand was 
much nearer than either Alma or Eau Claire, with almost level 
roads to it. Prices at Durand were booming up the place, and 
people from that neighborhood, who formerly had come with their 
wheat to Alma, naiturally went to Durand, which was so much 


nearer, and where they could not only sell wheat, but all other 
kinds of produce, and where most of them had their postoffice. 
The market in cattle and hogs, those on the hoof especially, also 
went largely to Durand, if not to Independence or Arcadia. Though 
the loss was less severelj'' felt, because the provision for the Beef 
Slough workmen required a large number of cattle during spring 
and summer, yet people who were thoughtful about such matters 
became anxious to be connected with, the outside world by that 
line of modern communication called a railroad. For something 
over six months every year, we had water communication and 
transportation, the latter cheaper than by railroad, but the advan- 
tage of cheaper transportation by the river was greatly diminished 
by the necessity for accumulating great quantities of staple articles 
during winter, and also merchandise for the same season. There 
was a prospect that this desire might be gratified some six years 
ago, when Mr. Stickney, a gentleman quite well known in railroad 
circles even then, put a corps of surveyors or engineers upon the 
eastern bank of the river, and promised that the road would be 
built within one and one-half year. Contracts were entered into, 
reading in the usual way, stipulating a time for commencing grad- 
ing, and also for the actual opening and subsequent continuous 
operation of the road. All that was, of course, solemnly promised, 
but just as carefully avoided, so that, about three years afterwards 
all the contracts had expired, and nothing remained but a very 
natural distrust in the promises of railroad projectors of any kind. 
The Stickney concern had not acquired any right of way in this 
county by actual purchase, and when, some three years ago, the 
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company sent an agent 
for purchasing, or contracting for, the right of way between Alma 
and Winona, under the Winona, Alma and Northern charter, in 
which Hon. A. Finkelnburg and Hon. R. R. Kempter figured as 
resident stockholders and incorporators, the work was comparat- 
ively easy, and progressed favorably and rapidly, in general, while 
in particular cases then, as usually, those came to the surface, who 
did not care to see the improvement proposed, but saw, neverthe- 
less very clearly the personal advantage to be derived from the 
necessity of certain pieces of land having to be purchased of them 
by the Railroad Company. In this age and this country we are 
perhaps not warranted in criticising acts of selfishness, nor would 


it be prudent to do so, since by the selfish actions of some one else 
we might be thrown into a position, in which appearances might 
be decidedly such, that it would be impossible for us to clear 
ourselves from the imputation of egotistic motives for our own 
actions. It must also be remembered that railroad companies are 
not in the habit of building their lines for the sole and exclusive 
benefit of others, buirather of themselves. We cannot perhaps, 
deny, that unfair advantage appears, and has been claimed, to 
have been taken of individuals in procuring contracts for right of 
way,7and other privileges by the railroad company and its 
agents, but yet we must admit, that all agreements as fav 
far as money is concernedj have been honorably discharged as 
incurred, or if incurred even to the controlling of contractors and 
subcontractors in their payments for work and material, and also 
for boarding their workingmen. That some errors, or even worse 
than that, should have happened in spite of all precautions, may 
have been "unavoidable in the execution of a work of such magni- 

Was the construction of this railroad line an undisputable, 
unqualified benefit to Buffalo County? We could fill a much larger 
book than the one before you with the arguments pro and con in 
answering this question, and it is doubtful whether after reading 
such a book, we would be much wiser than now. It may also be 
objected that we are not yet fully competent to answer the question, 
and that it is fair to wait and to see. One thing is sure, that the 
railroad is the great developer and civilizer of our modern time, 
and, whatever may be the result for individual persons and single 
localities, the benefit for the community at large can not be denied, 
though we may have to bide our time and to digest new proposi- 
tions and possibilities, not heretofore presented. As a historical 
reminiscence we may recount the following facts : 

First contracts for right of way at Alma were made in Sep- 
tember 1882. 

First definitive survey and platting of line finished about the 
middle of October 1883. 

First contracts or subcontracts for grading were given out forth- 
with, as soon as the line was established. Track-laying com- 
menced in November 1884 at the Chippewa and finished to La 
Crosse about January 1st, 1885. This line was operated since and 


regular trains were put on at first between La Crosse and Trevino 
in March 1885. 

The annexed time tables give an idea of the passenger trains 
and the 'regular freight trains but the number and extent of 
through freight trains can only be estimated, and must for the 
present and ever since the introduction of through-trains be ad- 
mitted to have been a surprise to all. 

Although the annexed time-table has been changed since writ- 
ing the above, it may still stand here for a testimony of the enter- 
prising spirit of the company. 




Time Tables Alma Station. 



No. 2. 

No. 4. 

No. 6. 

8 35 A.M. 

9 15 " 
12 06 p. M. 
12 38 " 

2 15 " 

4 20 " 

5 45 " 
8 00 " 

1 10 p. M. 

1 50 " 

4 43 " 

5 16 " 
7 05 " 
9 25 '•' ■ 

11 00 " 

1 05 A.M. 

8 00 p. M. 

" St. Paul 

8 40 " 

*' Alma 

11 03 " 

*' Winona 

11 26 " 

" La Crosse 

*' Prairie du Chien 

1 05 A.M. 

3 04 " 

'^ Diibuoue 

4 15 " 

** Savanna 

6 15 " 

Lv. Oregon 

3 10 A. M. 

7 05 " 

9 25 A.M. 

Ar. Chicago 

12 45 p. M. 

Ar. Fulton 

8 38 p. M. 

2 15 A.M. 

,7 05 " 

6 45 A.M. 

" Peoria 

11 40 " 

" St. Louis 

5 00 p. M. 

Way freight pa sses Alma at 1:08 p. m. 



Lv. Chicago 

" Peoria 

" St. Louis 

Ar. Oregon 

" Savanna 

" Dubuque 

" Prairie du Chien . 

" La Crosse 

" Winona 

" Alma 

" St. Paul 

" Minneapolis., 

No. 1. 

15 A.M. 

30 P.M. 

11 15 

05 A.M. 

45 " 


p. M. 

No. S. 

3 00 P. M, 

6 30 
8 25 

10 30 

11 55 
2 00 
4 00 
4 11 

7 05 
7 42 

P. M. 

A. M. 

Way freight passes Alma at 10:25 a. m. 

No. 5. 

10 30 p. M. 

4 50 " 

10 30 A.M. 


9 00 

10 30 

10 58 

2 00 

2 40 

p. M. 

Trains 3, 4, 5 and 6 run daily; 1 and 2 daily except Sunday. 

Through tickets to all points in the United States and Canada on sale 
at Alma. 

Baggage checked through to destination. 

Feeriess dining cars and Pullman sleepers on all through trains. 

No change of cars to Chicago, Peoria or St. Louis. 

For tickets, sleeping car accommodations, local time tables, and other 
information, apply to J. B. GLOVER, Agent, Alma. 



In the preceding pages we have treated Transportation from 
the commercial standpoint, a:nd as far as it is connected with 
export and import, and regulated b}' production of staple articles 
and the demand for such articles as can not be produced upon the 
spot, but are nevertheless wanted for use and consumption. Ex- 
port and import select some central points, at which articles of the 
former are collected, and articles of the latter are distributed. 
These points in our county must be looked for on the bank of the 
Mississippi, as long as we were almost exclusively dependent upon 
that river for transportation. Accordingly we find Fountain City 
and Alma to be the earliest centers of trade in the county as they 
remain the most important up to the present time. The found- 
ing and further progress of these two places must be considered in 
another chapter, in this we have to relate how from them roads 
began to spead themselves in every direction, at first with a dis- 
tinct intention of reaching other places, and directing the settle- 
ment of the adjacent country so as to connect with the starting 
points. Petitions to the legislature resulted in the appointment of 
commissions for laying out state roads. From Fountain City, then 
the " defacto " county-seat, a road was laid out in a general north- 
ern direction, keeping for about thirty miles upon the ridge of the 
bluffs, which divide the waters of the Trempealeau river from 
those of the Waumandee Creek, and descending into the valley of 
Elk Creek near the source of the south branch of the same, at the 
township line between townships twenty-two and twenty-three 
thence northwards in the valley to the westward turn of the creek 
thence about six miles in a western direction to near where Gilman- 
ton is now situated, thence in a general northern direction to Mon- 
dovi and beyond to Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls. Prudence at that 
time demanded that crossings of streams should be avoided, since 
there was no immediate prospect for bridging them. This accounts 
for the persistant progress of the road uponthe " ridge," for which it 
still bears the name of the "Ridge Road." Another road was 
laid out from Fountain City to Alma, following the foot of the 
bluffs where the wide prairie did not invite a deviation for the 
purpose of straightening out the road. This same road was after- 
wards extended to Durand and Eau Claire. Another road intended 
to connect with the Fountain City Ridge Road at some place was 


laid from Alma to the Little Waamandee Valley, substantially 
where the present road on the Belvidere Bluff is situated. After 
crossing Little Waumandee Creek it kept on the east side of it and 
crossed the intervening ridge into the Loomis' Settlement near the 
line between Sections 35 and 36 of Township 23 North of Range 
ll West. These roads, although yet extant as far as general direc- 
tions are concerned, have been materially altered in numerous 
places, as convenience, necessity and other causes have suggested. 
One- of the earliest roads required for intercommunication was the 
Beef River road. True to the notion or instinct that the crossing 
of a creek or river should, if possible, be avoided, the first road in 
that valley ran up and down the steepest grades, through ravines 
and finally also up into the Loomis' Settlement. The road from 
Fountain City to Waumandee Valley was also urgently called for. 
On the northern point of the sand prairie, towards the foot of the 
bluffs the state road turned in a western direction and from this 
point the Waumandee Valley road branched off in a direction al- 
most opposite, then again, as the trend of the bluffs required, in a 
more parallel direction. This road, also, kept as nearly as pos- 
sible along the bluffs, avoiding the crossing of swamps and 
streams. It must be evident to every one who even at the present 
time, after the labor of thirty years and large sums of money have 
been expended upon it, how difficult, and even hazardous the 
traveling on this road must have been at the start, since in spite 
of all improvements there are streetches in the road, disagreeable 
and dangerous to pass during the spring thaw, which in these 
places lasts a long time. The obvious advantage of running a road 
along the ridge of a series of hills is strongly counterbalanced by 
the difficulty of getting into the valleys, or out of them to the 
main trunk road. But in this county, as probably in all similar 
situations, the first settlements were made in valleys. The cultiva- 
tion of the comparatively level places on the top of the hills or 
bluffs was for many years confined to lands situated near the cen- 
ters of trade, or other favorable locations, that is such, where the 
wood cut down in the process of clearing could be conveniently dis- 
posed of at a remunerative price. These settlements in valleys 
necessitated the opening of roads to the bluffs and down the same. 
These roads were but too. often located into ravines, which seen 
from below appeared to ascend sufficiently in their narrow ends 


but such appearances are very often deceitful, not to say anything 
about the frequent accumulations of bowlders in the narrow ends 
of almost all of our ravines. Some, who came later into our coun- 
try, or some of our young people, may be inclined to ridicule the 
earlier settlers for adopting such foolish roads, and perhaps some 
people more philosophical than practical may suggest, that it 
would have been wiser, to make roads and settle along of them, 
and to extend settlements in this manner gradually. But the ne- 
cessity of earning a living, of procuring some shelter, of putting in 
a crop for the season and for next year, and to make fences, was 
Eo urgent with almost everyone, who arrived in those days, that it 
mattered little how many times they had to stumble in going to 
and from the towns, or visiting neighbors for business or other- 
wise. Every one admitted the necessity of better roads, and it 
must not be supposed that the people were unwilling to work on 
them, and to improve the old or build new ones, but everything 
could not be done at once. It was about ten years after the 
first considerable influx of settlers, that I became county surveyor, 
and as this was twenty years ago, and I have since traveled all 
over the county, I had as good a chance as any person to notice 
the actual condition of roads during this period. 

To single out any particular road, or pretence of one, as an ex- 
ample of bad, or as worst, would now be considered as spiteful, 
but I may be allowed to cite someinslancesof early improvements, 
judiciously managed, though perhaps superseded by better struct- 
ures, when time and means were at disposition for the purpose. 

A very early attempt in this direction was the construction of 
the old bluff-road from Alma in the direction towards Wauman- 
dee. It was not by any means perfect, but then I remember, that 
the first travelers in that direction had to clamber over the huge 
boulders in the end of the ravine, that they had to carry their 
articles of furniture, of provisions etc. on their backs to the top of 
the ascent, and that it was only with the greatest exertions and 
considerable danger, that the empty wagons could be hauled up 
by the cattle, and that in som.e instance it was even necessary to 
take the wagons apart and haul up each half separately. As I do 
not remember the building of this road, I think it must have been 
done before my arrival, (in 1859.) In 1859 the Blufif Road from 
Buffalo City to Watimandee was finished with some pecuniary as- 


sistance from the Colonization Society, not by any means a very 
good road, but one much better than those formerly traveled in 
that direction. The first road laid out according to a uniform 
grade throughout, was the one. from Glencoe in the direction to 
Fountain City. It used to be known as the "Dug way" and was 
originally laid out, and some years subsequently improved, by 
Mr. David D. Davis, who had a deserved reputation as a surveyor 
and civil engineer. The old gentleman had an advantage over the 
younger class of the same profession by having in former times 
acquired a sound stock of information as to the probable cost of 
such undertakings. The town of Glencoe has probably the great- 
est comparative number of graded roads of any town in the county, 
all planned with excellent judgment. It came, after some time, 
to be understood generally, that graded roads were desirable in 
every respect, and though some of them might cost more than those 
laid out otherwise, to begin with, a much greater amount would 
be saved in the future repairs, not to speak of the saving on wa- 
gons and teams, and the greater comfort for every one who had to 
travel. A jiew impulse to the construction of graded roads was 
given by that of the road leading from the bluff east of Fountain 
City to the lower part of the town or village. This road was also 
laid out by Mr. Davis in 1871. One from the upper pftrt of the 
village followed 1872. In 1876 the village of Alma laid out a road 
of the same kind from Laue's house to the bluff, joining the old 
road at the boundary line between Alma and Belvidere. 

The first regularly graded road in the town of Nelson was the 
one up Spring Creek ravine, by which a numerous population, on 
the bluffs between Trout Creek Valley and the Chippewa or Beef 
Slough Bottoms was accommodated. This was followed by the 
grading from Centre Creek Valley to the bluff in a general south- 
ern direction. Then came the grade up from the Norwegian 
church near the Southeast Corner of Sect. 12 in Township 23 
North of Range 13 West, all of which was executed by myself, as 
well as sotne smaller operations, one of_which was the equaliza- 
tion of the grade on western decline of so-called Norwegian road. 

In 1877 the eastern descent of the Alma and Waumandee road 
was planned and built, and the crossroad from the upper part of 
Little Waumandee Valley to Montana. Numerous other graded 
roads have since been built, but it is to be hoped, that many more 


will yet be planned and finished. The introduction of the railroad 
necessitated the dislocation of some roads along of it, which in 
cases led to decided alterations. So for instance, was the road from 
Rieck's house in Section 24, Township 20 North of Range 12 West, 
changed towards the east, to avoid the Sand Prairie. There had 
been a road in that direction for a long time, but on account of 
some difficulties in the proper construction, it was only occasionly 
used. A similar dislocation took place between Alma and Beef 
River bridge. Something ought to be said of the way the immi- 
grants arrived in the northern parts of the county, in most cases 
transporting all the necessary furniture for kitchen and house. 
Some of them came by way of Mississippi and landed at Fountain 
City or Alma, and moved to their respective locations as the roads 
were beginning to be marked out. Others came directly by land 
by the old road, from La Crosse to Black River Falls and then, 
keeping together in groups. for mutual assistance, not against In- 
dians, but on account of difficult roads, wending their ways to their 
several destinations. One of the earliest pioneers of that region, 
Mr. S. S. Cooke, moved in 1856 in the month of June to his place 
in Section 27, Township 23 North of Range lO West, in the south- 
ern part of the Town of Dover, where his oldest son Chauncey C. 
Cooke, Esq., still resides. It took the family two days to reach 
their destination, but they already found an intermediate stopping 
place at Patrick Mulcare's house in Glencoe. Of prominent people 
at or near Mondovi I know from accidental mention in my pres- 
ence, that they came by the landway, as indicated, and it stands to 
reason that they did not always have a roof to go under when 
night arrived, being obliged to camp out. One who has never seen 
the " Prairie Schooner " creeping thiough the valleys and over 
the hills, followed by the passengers who might also be called its 
crew, and by the few domestic animals that could be driven, or 
followed voluntarily, would not realize this once most prominent 
mode of travel and transportation. It was seen by myself as late 
as 1886, when out surveying a few miles from Mr." Cooke's place. 
The disadvantages of this way of traveling through an unimproved 
country, destitute of roads and bridges, and of places of shelter, 
present themselve , so vividly to the mind of every reader, as not 
to require particular description; but the advantages, at least those 
who adopted it, were almost equal to the inconvenience, They 


could live on what they had along with them, or what they were 
able to purchase cheaply at some cultivated station; they therefore 
needed but little or no money. Against rain they were in some 
measure protected by the cover of the wagon, and fuel to start and 
maintain the necessary fires was in most places in this county 
abundant, and had not to be carried along, and this life in the 
wilderness was, after all, not so very different from that which many 
of the travelers had been leading in the frontier settlements from 
which they came, and which they would probably have to live for 
a time in those they intended to plant. It must especially be re- 
membered and considered that most of this kind of travel was per- 
formed during the later spring or during summer and early fall. 
This was necessary especially on account of cattle and horses, for 
which even steamboats, as far as they might be employed, had but 
very unsatisfactory arrangements. But on land grass cost no more 
than the cutting, while water of the purest kind was to be found 
everywhere along the roads or trails across the country. 

The ranks of old settlers who came to their homes in this 
primitive manner, are now sadly thinned, and soon no one will 
remain to tell the tale of the mingled hardship and enjoyment of- 
these expeditions, but all of them that I had the pleasure to get 
acquainted with, looked back upon their adventures with much 
more satisfaction than regret. 

We have mentioned all kinds of transportation but one, which 
I know from personal observation, sometimes was executed. This 
is the transportation of flour, and very likely of other things, 
occasionally, upon the backs or shoulders of early pioneers. Even 
as late as 18.59, most of the provisions were brought into the 
county by steamboat from Galena, although a mill had been 
started at Fountain City and one at Eagle Mills, possibly also the 
one at Gilmanton, then Mann's Mill. There were still some set- 
tlers who had either no wagons, or no passable roads to their ca- 
bins, but bread was needed, and flour must be brought, so the 
most natural, though at the same time most primitive, tedious 
and exhaustive, way of transportation had to be resorted to. It 
is well to mention this, if for no other purpose than to show our 
posterity to what toilsome expedients their predecessors were 
sometimes reduced for the maintenance of themselves and their 


My friend Chas. F. Eager, now a banker at Volga, Dak., 
among the remarks in the report on his own early settlement says: 
When we first settled near Mondovi our postofnce was Eau Galla, 
and I remember of father carrying groceries in a basket from 
Alma (24 miles) to our place, one mile south of Mondovi. 


Civilized communities require the opportunity of regular in- 
tercourse, not so much in person, as by letters, or by commissions 
sent orally. We find this exemplified in the history of the great 
Roman Empire, in which regular posts were organized, originally 
for gubernatorial, administrative or military purposes, but by de- 
grees extended to the transmission of messages in general, and of 
letters in particular, and, perhaps by private enterprise, and un- 
der special privileges granted by the government, the transporta- 
tion of passengers and of merchandise. The destruction of the 
Empire, and the insecurity of the roads during the turmoil of the 
Dark Ages from the fifth to the fifteenth and sixteenth century 
made it too hazardous to keep up regular commnnications of any 
kind, and a postal service such as had been established in the 
Roman Empire, and as we have now developed in modern states 
or governments could not be thought of. Concealment afforded 
the almost single chance for security, and a messenger, once sus- 
pected to be such, was deprived of his best protection. Hence all 
transmission of important intelligence had to be effected by spec- 
ial messengers, who had to be armed themselves, and frequently 
also accompanied by armed companions. At about the same time 
in which America was discovered, a regular postal service began to 
be instituted in the " Roman Empire of German Nationality," as 
it was styled, by the granting of a monopoly to a nobleman, 
Francis von Taxis by name. He organized a mounted mail be- 
tween Vienna and Brussels in 15 16, and having exclusive privileges 
for establishing similar lines throughout the Empire, probably ex- 
tended his connections, as he might find it profitable. It is a mat- 
ter of history that this monopoly continued until about 1870 in 
most of the German states, and although much modified, and con- 
trolled by legislation, must still have been considered valuable, 
since it was bought out by the governments for a considerable sum. 
I have mentioned this as the model, on which postal service was 
organized in most modern states, and to show how it had to ac- 


commodate itself to circumstances wherever it was introduced, 
until from the solitary postillion, mounted on a stout horse, and 
armed to the teeth, it gradually metamorphosized into the stages, 
still sometimes accompanied by guards, lumbering along slowly 
and heavily on poor roads, finally on carefully constructed_ ones, 
until to-day it comes along at railroad speed in comfortable quar- 
ters. It is one of the most interesting phases in modern develop- 
ment, how out of such a small and unsatisfactory arrangement in 
the course of time the gigantic service was developed, which now 
is ramified into the farthest corners of the world and by which a 
letter is brought across an ocean for the insignificant sum of five 
cents, and for two cents is carried through thousands of miles in 
the United States. It is impossible to follow the march of im- 
provement in all the details connected with this important factor 
of modern public life but I imagine it must have been about thus: 

1. Regularity, dependent on security and reliability of ex- 
ternal provisions and arrangements, such as roads, bridges and 

2. Speed, requiring great improvements of roady and bridges 
more and extensive relays, hence a greater number of stations, 
horses and vehicles. 

3. Cheapness. Establishments having to be kept up, they 
could only be remunerative, if used by the public in general, and 
the public could only use it, if prices were reasonable, and would 
use it the more in proportion to cheapness. 

Of course this does not apply to our own country and present 
time, as far as development is concerned, yet it may not be amiss 
to call attention to it, since to a certain extent this development 
must occur in about the same successive steps in every country 
and may be traced from colonial times to the present. 

Experience has demonstrated the necessity of retaining the 
mail or postal service as a government monopoly, though in this 
country it is modified by the contract system. The extension of 
mail routes is concommitant to the extension of population, and the 
means of transportation used are determined by circumstances. 
Below I shall give a table showing the successive establishment of 
post-offices in this county. As every one knows, we received the 
mail at first by steamboat at the regular landings, and from these 
It was distributed to the interior ofiices as soon as such were estab- 


lished. In the intermission between the seasons of navigation the 
mail was carried by stage coaches or wagons, frequently sleighs, 
from some places already reached by railroads, to every interme- 
diate point, a mode of conveyance still necessary and practiced for 
the interior offices not on*railroads. In these cases the passenger 
transportation is independent of the mail service, and has never 
been connected with it here, except as the arrangements for mail ser- 
vices would furnish regular opportunities of conveyance. 

The following table shows the names and most other things of 
interest concerning the post offices of Buffalo County. Names of 
consecutive incumbents of these offices will be found in the de- 
scription of the several towns. 














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The following that once existed in this county have 
been discontinued: Maxville, formerly situated at the store on Max- 
ville Prairie; Burnside, situated in Sect. 3 T. 23 R. 13, at the house 
of J. L. Hallock; Eagle Creek, situated in Section 7, T. 21 R. 11, 
near the crossing of Little Waumandee Creek; Urban, situated at 
the house of Henry Hauenschild in the upper part of Little Wau- 
mandee Valley, Eagle Branch Sect. 36 T. 21 R. 11, kept by Fred 

The mail is carried by the C. B. & N. R. R. along its line and 
delivered once a day in each direction, north and south. From 
Waumandee and Montana to Fountain City and the reverse, mail 
is carried three times a week, also from Alma to Modena, Gilman- 
ton and Mondovi, and return. Some connection seems to exist 
between Waumandee and Montana on one side and Gilmanton on 
the other. The mail for Buffalo City P. 0. is carried by team 
from Alma, three times a week. A tri-weekly line is still in exist- 
ence between Nelson and Durand, although there is but one post- 
office, Misha Mokwa now situated on this route. How Urne and 
Cross are supplied I do not know. There must be a mail route 
between Gilmanton in our, and Independence in Trempealeau 
County, on which Lookout P. 0. is situated in the town of Dover, 
but precise accounts are wanting. 


Along the Chippewa River and its numerous tributaries there 
was an|almost inexhaustible supply of Pine Timber that had grown 
up from times immemorial. Settlements began to encroach upon 
the margin of this immense tract of land, but they only made it 
evident, that the timber would not be needed, nor could it be pro- 
fitably utilized upon the spot. It had long been wanted some- 
where else. The question was how to transport it. Easy enough 
one should think. But although logs would float, and rafting had 
been practiced long ago, much had to be learned, contrived and 
arranged to make the wood in the log a profitable piece of merch- 
andise, an object of wholesale traffic. The most natural idea was 
to reduce the pine to lumber. Waterpower was not wanting in 
places to which logs could at the annual freshets be floated and 
after th« subsidence of these, could be conveniently manufactured 
into lumber, which would sell along the Mississippi River like hot 
cakes. As early as 1828 the first attempts at carrying out this 


idea were made. The' permissioa of the Indians being necessary 
for settlement and establishment of any factories or posts, Judge 
Lockwood of Prairie du Chien obtained that permission of Waba- 
sha, the chief of the Sioux, to build a saw mill on the Red Cedar, 
now Menomonie River. Gen, Street, Indian Agent at Fort Craw- 
ford was his partner in the business. It would be tedious to fol- 
low up the development of the trade thus begun, but after the ex- 
periences of almost forty years after the first beginning, during 
which time the valleys of the Chippewa and the most important 
of its tributaries had become settled and were finally inhabited 
almost exclusively with white men, the Indians being expelled, 
cities like Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire founded, it became ap- • 
parent that the transportation of the pine timber had become not 
only necessary for the wants of the people dwelling below along 
the Mississippi, but that it would no longer be profitable to have 
all the lumber manufactured upon the spot, thus submitting this 
immense interest to the exclusive control of a comparatively nar- 
row strip of country and the few men it, who had the means to 
build and run saw mills, and who virtually had the monopoly of 
the pine lands. It is true, that the establishment of mills had 
been attended with risks and dangers, with losses and disasters, 
but it is just as true that many of these losses and disasters could 
and would have been avoided if the experience of the past could 
have been made available in the beginning. The owners of pine 
land had an indisputable right to dispose of their timber as it 
suited themselves, and navigation upon the Chippewa for their logs 
could not be prevented nor prohibited. The question was to find 
some safe reservoir for the reception, storage and manipulation of 
these logs. This reservoir was found in the Beef Slough and its 
connections and ramifications. There are rumors of quiet explora- 
tions of the slough by several men even in the earliest times of the 
settlements. Victor Probst, one of the earliest settlers at Alma, 
used to relate that a stranger, whom he met somewhere on Beef 
Slough, almost directly told him, that this would in no very 
distant days be used for the very purpose for which it now serves. 
I have under the head of Topography given a description of 
Beef Slough and its relations to the Chippewa, the Beef River and 
the Mississippi so that it will not be necessary to say more about 
that. The obvious connection of the Slough with the Chippewa 


Riyer was known to pilots and if they also knew the difficulties and 
intricacies of it, they were quite excusable, if they preferred the 
main channel, though it did look smaller. at the parting from the 
slough. This circumstance was illustrated in the following anec- 
dote: In the year 1835, Jefferson Davis, then a young lieutenant 
in the United States service, stationed at Fort Crawford, was sent 
up to the mills on the Menomonee to get lumber to rebuild the 
fort or make some addition to it. The order had been filled, and 
Davis and the soldiers were coming down the Chippewa under the 
command of an old voyageur who acted as pilot. At the critical 
point where Beef Slough sets off to the left, or rather seems to go 
on straight, while the main river turns to the right, the French- 
man, well aware of the situation, called out: "To de right, hard." 
"What's that," said .the West Pointer, "you're going to run this 
raft right to hell ? I tell you to pull to the le"ft where the main 
river is." It was done and the lumber lost in Beef Slough. The 
crew of the raft returned to the mills for more lumber, and the 
officers to the fort in a canoe to report the raft broken. Though 
we cannot vouch for the truth of the anecdote, it still illustrates 
the relative situation of the parts concerned. As times wore on, 
and about thirty-two years after Jeff Davis' adventures on Beef 
Slough and two years after the explosion of his confederacy, the 
initial steps were taken to put the idea of creating Beef Slough a 
log harbor into operation. On the 27th day of April 1867, in the 
village of Alma the 
Beef Slough Manufacturing, Boomdng, Log-driving and Transportation 

was organized by the following persons: M. M. Davis, M. D. of 
Appleton (now of Baraboo,) Wis.; Jas. H.' Bacon of Ypsilanti, 
Mich.; Elijah Swift of Falmouth, Mass.; C. Moser, Jr., Jno. Hun- 
ner, Jr., and Fred Lane of Alma, Wis. 

The first meeting of the stockholders was held at Alma, May 
23d, 1867, and the following Board of Directors were elected: 

M. M. Davis, T. E. Crane, Elijah Swift, Francis Palms, Jas. H. 
Bacon, Fred Lane, and Jno. Hunner, Jr. 

At a meeting held the same day, the directors chose M. M. 
Davis, President; C. Moser, Jr., Secretary; Elijah Swift, Treasurer; 
and T. E. Crane, Superintendent. 

Violent opposition to this organization was manifested on the 


Chippewa River and its tributaries by the lumbermeii of the 
region, who had until then enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the 
lumbering business, not only by being the only ones in the business, 
but by dictating their own price in the purchase of logs cut upon 
land not their own. Most determined in this combin'ed opposi- 
tion was the firm of Knapp, Stout & Company, whose mills were 
on the Menomonee, but who were also largely interested in the 
village of Read's Landing, Minn., where at that time the coupling 
and combining of lumber and lografts from the Chippewa was car- 
ried on, and which on account of the large number of men em- 
ployed in that business and other items connected with lumbering 
was a very thriving place, but has since dwindled down to insig- 
nificance. This opposition did not manifest itself in idle words 
only but went to work to create obstacles, which, if not removed, 
would render it impossible to get logs into the Slough. A dam 
was thrown in at the head of the slough, where Knapp, Stout & Co. 
owned the land on both sides. The Beef Slough Co. secured an 
entrance to the place by having a road laid out from a place on 
the Durand road close to the ChippeAva, along the river and the 
slough, which road was an open higway as soon as recorded. The 
people from Alma and along Beef Slough were all in favor of the 
new enterprise, and when called upon to assist in the removal of 
the obstructions put in by the Menomonee firm, assembled in 
large numbers, armed and equipped in various ways. I never at- 
tended any of these gatherings, but I had laid out the above men- 
tioned road, and so was acquainted with the locality, and as excite- 
ments "are never silent, I learned much of what happened from 
acquaintances, and on one of these occasions Mr. Thomas B. Wil- 
son was brought before me in my office of Justice of the Peace, 
then residing in the town of Belvidere, about nine miles below 
Alma. He had come down in company with Mr. A. Tainter, who 
with Wilson was the Co. attached to Knapp and Stout, and with 
a force of their men to prevent the removal of the obstructions 
they had placed into Beef Slough at the head of it. In course of 
lively debates carried on in the choicest PJnglish of river-men, 
with appropriate retorts from the other side, Mr. Wilson, accord- 
ing to complaint, seized an axe and cut a cable, and threatened 
summary vengeance upon all who dared to oppose his sovereign 
will, whereupon he was arrested by a constable of Buffalo County, 


Capt. Beely, and sent down tq be put under bonds to keep the 
peace, which was done and bonds furnished b}'- parties in Alma. I 
don't remember that any harm was done, nor that anything was 
demolished, with the exception of some melons, in whch beneficial 
work Mr. Wilson was faithfully assisted by his attorney, Mr. Camp- 
bell of Wabasha. 

At this juncture it will not be amiss to introduce some testi- 
mony from the opposite side. This I find in the work of T. E. 
Randall, called the " Early History of the Chippewa Valley " page 
143 and following. " At first all the mills on the river joined in 
the opposition to this gigantic rival as against a common enemy. 
Two of the ablest men on the river were chosen to represent the 
two districts in the Assembly ; in Chippewa and Dunn, T. C. Pound, 
and for Pepin and Eau Claire, Horace W. Barnes, who, aided by a 
strong lobb}', defeated the bill (for granting the Beef Slough Co. a 
charter) on a direct vote in the Assembly; but another bill was 
subsequently introduced, a copy of an old Portage Citj^ charter, 
changing the names of persons and localities — mere,ly a workiijg 
charter — it was claimed, embodying no specific privileges except 
corporate powers, but which was afterwards found to contain nearly 
everything asked for; and the work went on in spite of opposition. 

Disastrous as the success of this new organization was consid- 
ered by the mill men, a considerable class of our citizens favored 
the innovation. They were the class known as loggers, who, while 
the mills on the Chippewa were the only purchasers of logs, 
saw themselves completely at the mercy of a dozen or twenty 
monopolists. What cared they, whether cities grew up at Daven- 
port, Clinton and Muscatine, by the manufacture of our pine into 
lumber, if they could only get fifty cents more per thousand for 
logs with the promise of cash in the place of trade for pay. 

But most of the mills were illy prepared for the new order of 
things. Subjected to annual losses by floods and short supply of 
logs for want of storage, few of them were able to erect sorting 
works and keep sufficient force to sort out and pass the logs below 
going to other parties, and secure their own, and therefore had re- 
course to exchanging marks, as the practice was called. About 
fifty million feet of logs were contracted by the agent for the Slough 
Co., this year, 1868, and on opening of spring a driving force of 
125 men was placed on the river, and a watchman at every boom 


and mill to guard the interest of the new company. A moderate 
freshet favored the drivers this spring, and it was well into June 
before the main force of the Beef Slough Company reached the 
Slough, who on their way down had cut or opened almost every 
boom on the river, and taken out, indiscriminately, whatever logs 
they contained. It seemed as though the agent of the new com- 
pany aggravated every hardship by ruthless, unnecessary and ar- 
bitrary destruction of property, and loud and bitter were the de- 
nunciations against him. It had been a doubtful problem even 
among the friends of the measure, whether logs could be success- 
fully driven over the broad sand bars of the lower Chippewa, and 
cost what it would, its feasibility must be demonstrated now, or 
the stockholders, already assessed for the last dollar on their stock 
would abandon the undertaking; the drive was therefore contin- 
ued after the water got so low, that the cost of driving was more 
than the logs were worth. But the drive was a fixed fact, and 
henceforth the Chippewa pinery must furnish its quota of logs, for 
the mills, and build up the cities on the shores of that great river, 
whose tributaries span two-thirds of a continent. The next session 
of the Legislature, 1869, witnessed a renewal of the struggle for 
charters, but it was a tri-party fight, with a leaning of Chippewa 
Falls interests towards Beet Slough, and a final coalition of the two 
to defeat the Dell's bill. It was not until the season of 1870 that 
the final charter for the Beef Slough Company became a law." 

I omit some remarks of Mr. Randall, which, though perhaps 
not entirely without foundation, are stated in his book with the 
zest of partisan spirt, excusable with him, who could not but be 
prejudiced against the Beef Slough Company. But he was fair- 
minded enough to add the following: 

" Although stoutly opposed, and the establishment of those 
works much deprecated by a large share of our people as deroga- 
tory to our manufacturing interests, their existence has not been 
without its benefit, even to its most strenuous opposers. For in 
1869 the Company at the Falls having planted some immense 
piers directly in the channel in the big eddy just below Paint 
Creek Rapids, a jam of logs of vast proportions was formed against 
them during the spring drive, filling up the entire river for several 
miles with logs, piled by the force of the current twenty or thirty 
feet high, totally obstructing the passage of logs and rafts, — and 


presenting a grand, almost- sublime spectacle to the beholder — 
which jam, when broken in the July following, by the aid of two 
steam engines and a great force of men, filled the river for miles in 
extent with floating logs, pouring down in such rapid profusion, 
that any force the mills below could command was powerless to 
arrest their onward course, or to secure a hundreth part that be- 
longed to them. Millions on millions of feet of logs would have 
gone into the great river, and been lost in its thousand lagoons 
and bayous, whicR were saved to their owners by the Beef Slough 

In connection with this we must relate the history of the first 
drive, as far as our county and especially the village of Alma 
were concerned. The drive came down, under the command of 
Mr. Bacon, almost down to Alma, the Jam-Boom in Nelson not 
being established, or else not capable of holding the logs. The 
crew having been told, that they were to be paid off at Alma, they 
came there, and waited in vain for their money. That they grew 
impatient, was quite natural. It had been asserted before, that 
the most desperate characters had been engaged in the dangerous 
work to force the drive through. At first they were patient enough,- 
but when the means for gratifiying their sharpened appetites failed 
to come forth, they grew riotous, and committed acts, which finally 
led to the arrest of six of the most desperate characters and lodg- 
ing them in the jail at La Crosse. Sheriff Turnbull, residing in 
Fountain City had but little inclination to keep order anywhere 
else. A company of militia was organized and armed, and the 
crew being at length paid off, the danger passed and has not re- 
turned. Even I, not a resident of Alma at the time, was stopped 
and insulted in comiflg through the street, and it was only 
owing to the interference of Mr. Thomas Kennedy, whose acquaint- 
ance I had made at the survey of the above mentioned road, that 
my surveying staff was returned to me and worse was prevented. 
Cleaning out this " one horse town " was a favorite phrase among 
the " boys." I do not mention it as a grudge against anyone, not 
even the said "boys" for I think the whole trouble and disturbance 
would have been prevented, if the money, which, I understood to 
have been provided for the purpose, had been properly applied, 
and not, as was said afterwards, used for speculating in logs, in 
which, as rumor had it, it was lost. The company had the morti- 


fication to have its own agejit after a while turning against it, try^ 
ing to run a lumber raft through the slough to the manifest annoy- 
ance of its legitimate operations. The attempt was, however 
made only once, and was unprofitable. Secretary Irvine of the 
Mississippi Logging Company says as follows: 

" The first effort was not altogether successful or satisfactory 
to the stockholders; there were only 5,785,000 feet rafted the first 
season." In fact the old Beef Slough Company had become 

At a meeting of the Mississippi River Logging Company held 
at Winona in September 1872, a proposition was made to them by 
t'h^ Beef Slough Company to sell them a controlling interest in 
the Beef Go.'s stock. The proposition was accepted, and a 
new organization was formed with P. Weyerhaeuser of Rock Is- 
land, 111., as President; Artemus Lamb, Clinton, Iowa, Vice Presi- 
dent; and Thos. Irvine of Muscatine, Iowa, Secretary and Manager, 
which persons have continued in their respective offices to the pre- 
sent time. 

Elijah Swift, James Jenkins and M. M. Davis of the old Beef 
. Slough Company still hold some stock and are directors in the 
new coinpa,ny. The M. R. L. Co. is a corporation organized under 
the laws of the State of Iowa, having its headquarters at the City 
of Clinton, Iowa, with a branch office at Chippewa Falls, and one 
at Beef Slough, Wisconsin, run in conjunction with the office of 
the Beef Slough Boom Company, and having the same staff of of- 

To hai^monize the conflict of interests between the Chippewa 
mill, men at Eau Claire and the Mississippi mill owners, operating 
the Beef Slough Boom, a third organization was formed in the 
year 1881, .whiqh united the two parties under the corporate name 
of the Chippewa Logging Company, commonly called the "Pool." 
Under this arrangement the logs are all bought in common, 
and the, Eau Claire parties take out of the promiscuous lot a suf- 
ficient amount to, supply their mills, and let the balance pass on 
to Beef Slough. T,he Chippewa Logging Company has its prin- 
cipal qfiice at Beef Slough. , 
As a matter of course there are many arrangements necessary 
to catch and manage the logs that are coming dpwn on 'the drive 
and are to be rafted. The first arrangenaents are the shear-booms 


at Round Hill, one of them directing the logs to the Buffalo 
Count}' side, the other compelling them to enter Beef Slou'gh. 
There is also one at the head of Little Beef Slough, for directing 
stragglers that escaped the upper booms into the little and main 
slough. Two new ones will be added this year. The logs are 
stopped at the Jam Boom located between lots 4 and 5 of Section 
24, Township 23 Range 14. They are let out at an opening in it 
according to the demand of the working force below, pass by old 
Farmer's Home, down the Devil's Elbow, by Flat Bar, Perrin 
Slough, Wabasha Bridge and o'ther stations until they come out of 
the swampy precincts to the open deep water along the bluffs in 
Section 16 Township 22 Range 13, where they are assorted, passed 
down the pockets arranged into a compact mass, the joints over- 
lapped like those in the front of mason work. Formerly the fogs 
were rafted, that is each log was fastened at least in two different 
places to poles b}' lock-downs and plugs. The poles extended 
across the • 10 feet strings. The strings again were coupled by 
similar poles to each other, to the number of from 2 to 14 or more 
according to requirement. But before that they had to be drop- 
ped down to some convenient place for this coupling. This has 
still to be done, but actual rafting is almost dispensed with. The 
logs are now brailed. A brail is a combination of logs in the 
same way as a raft, but these logs are not separately connected or 
secured. There is a boom around the whole mass, the logs of this 
boom being fastened by iron links, and prevented from spreading 
by galvanized wire lines at a distance of 50 feet from each other. 
A brail is 550 feet long by 46 feet wide. Six of these brails 
coupled together constitute a full Mississippi raft. Rafts con- 
structed after the old method had as many oars in bow and stern 
as there were strings in the raft. They floated down the river- 
guided by these oars. At present these oars have become unne- 
cessarj ; a steamboat hitched to the stern of the raft manages the 
same by making use of the currents, and sometimes suspends the 
forward motion until the proper channel has been reached by the 
bow swinging round. 

Formerly it took as many men as there were oars to manage a 
raft, each working his oar. It was necessary to have a cook with 
his utensils and materials upon the raft, and the whole was com- 
manded by a pilot, who sometimes had an assistant. All the crew 


now required is that of the steamboat, re-enforced by a few hands 
to help in landing the raft and in securing stray logs in case 
of an accident. To carry on the operations on the Beef Slough 
there are about six hundred men engaged during the rafting sea- 
son, but during the remainder of the season about one hundred 
are retained for different kinds of work. For the accommodation 
of these men there are several camps: 

Camp No. 1 on SB i of NE i of Section 27, T. 22, R. 13. At 
this camp or near it the office of the company is located, there are 
also different other buildings, amo'ng them a storehouse for cables 
and other things required in the operations of rafts and boats. 

Camps No. 2, No. 3 and No. 3} are strung out along the bank 
in Sections 21 and 16. Camp No. 4 was out in the swamp west 
of the main Slough. Camp 5 is a short distance above in Sect. 16, 
all in Township 22, Range 13. 

Camp No. 6 is in Sect. 12, T. 22, R. 14 at the head of Perrin 
Skugh, Flat Bar Camp is in Sect. 36, T. 28, R. 14. A small crew 
camps at the Jam Boom, some are also at the Shear Booms, and 
occasional camps are formed at other places, especially by the 
Rear Drive Crews.' All these camps are furnished with victuals and 
cooks, with beds and blankets by the company. The permanent 
camps are large and well ventilated, houses, affording such com- 
fort as may be or is usually afforded under similar circumstances. 
Meat and vegetables are usually supplied fresh, of good quality and 
- sufficient quantity, procured from the butcher at Alma, and from 
people on farms in the neighborhood of the slough. 

Something is yet to be said about the amount of logs handled 
by the Beef Slough Company and the other companies working 
with it as above explained. It is neither necessary nor particu- 
larly entertaining to make a table of every year's. output. 

We find that in 1868 it was: 5,785,000 feet. 

In 1875 129,066,680 " 

In 1885 536,000,000 " 

In 1886 463,847,560 " 

The output for the present season is expected to be even 
larger than that of 1885, which has been the largest so far. 

The necessity of inspecting the logs and lumber passing 
through the Beef Slough led to the organization of the 9th Lum- 
ber Inspection District. This was done by Chapter 90, Laws of 


1870, and the first inspector appointed was Maj. J. F. Hauser 
from March 19, 1870, until May 20, 1871 when he resigned, John 
A. Mc Rae being May 31, 1871 appointed to fill the vacancy. He 
was succeeded by Geo. W. Gilkey who held the office from March 
19, 1872 until April 27, 1874. Martin W. McDonnell held the office 
from April 27, 1874 to the same date 1878. Mr. D. J. McKenzie has 
held the office, ever since. 

For some of the information regarding the lumber inspectors 
of this district I am obliged to Mr. Henry Casson, Private Secre- 
tary of Gov. Rusk. Those who are specially curious regarding 
the extent of the 9th inspection district are referred to the chapter 
of the laws of 1870 above mentioned. 

The office of the Lumber Inspector has nothing to do with the 
Beef Slough Company or the Mississippi River Logging Co., the 
latter in fact scaling their own logs. Lumber Inspector M. W. 
McDonnell says in his report for 1875, that less than one-fourth of 
the output of that year had been scaled by him, the balance by 
the M. L. C. Lumber Inspector D. J. McKenzie reports that in 
1885 he scaled 148 of the 535 millions and in 1886, 168 of 463 

The operations at the Slough, as well as the necessary offices 
and other arrangements are under the direct superintendence of 
Mr. Irvine, the Secretary and Manager of the Mississippi River 
Logging Co. But, it being manifestly impossible for any man 
to supervise these extensive works, some points of which are so 
far apart, and the operations so multifarious, there are superin- 
tendents or bosses appointed, who are in their places and for cer- 
tain purposes the temporary authorities. At Round Hill, the 
northern picket of the grand encampment, Mr. A. B. Gilmore is in 
command, at the Jam Boom Mr. Mike Hawley, and over the 
Rafting Works, and the operations connected with them, Mr. Edw. 
Douglas has the superintendency. As a matter of course there 
must be some discipline among so many people of all sorts and so 
many new ones every season, and as there never was any serious 
disiturbance or interruption on account of refractory men, the dis- 
cipline appears to be satisfactory. To this the regulation, that no 
liquor of any kind is to be brought and drank upon the premises 
belonging to the company, has assisted in a great measure. 

The description of the assorting and rafting works, and so 


many minor arrangements would take too much room and could 
hardly be understood without plats and drawings. The same 
might be said in regard to the construction of a large reservoir for 
logs adjacent to the lower end of the Slough or rather the junc- 
tion of Beef River and Slough. In this the causeway 
across the swamp built by the village of Alma with some aid 
and assistance of the Town of Nelson and the county, has been 
utilized as a dam and the course of Beef River changed by putting 
locks into it at the eastern bridge. 

The above naturally calls to mind the times and per ons of. 
the pioneers of this enterprise. They are mentioned in the course 
of the narrative, but those who at that time lived in, or had to 
come to and remain at Alma will especially remember Dr. M. M. 
Davis and his son, Mr. James H. Bacon, who for the time was the 
leadei and motor of the whole; with him we saw his son, and his- 
nephew Edgar Warner, who built a little cottage near Camp No. 1. 
Elijah Swift was at that time frequently at Alma, also T. Crane. 
The American House then kept by J. A. (Squire) Hunner and 
afterwards by S. S. Cooke was the headquarters of the Beef Slough 
folks in general, though the office was kept, together with the law- 
office of Moser and Hunner, in the building now occupied by Ja- 
cob Burkhard as a saloon and residence. 

After the management of the rafting works had been in differ- 
ent hands, the company engaged Mr. Charles Hewitt, under whose 
vigorous administration the extensive rafting works at and near 
Camp No.' 2 were commenced, which were altered and enlarged as 
experience required. Mr. Hewitt, 'or, as he liked to be called 
among friends, Charley, lives now on his farm in the town of Ona- 
laska, in La Crosse County. 

His successor was Mr. George Stiles, who did not stay very 
long. He is now in Minnesota. Mr. Stiles' successors were suc- 
ceeding each other so rapidly, that we could not keep up the rec- 
ord, though we caught the last of them. 

At first it was customary to employ 071^2/ old hands, that is 
such, who had been on the Slough from the start. Very soon this 
was impossible, as the supply gave out, and it was no longer neces- 
sary, since the work had become greatlj' changed and simplified. 
In course of time, therefore, the number of original hands dwin- 
dled down to about one dozen, all of them put into positions re- 


■quiring attention rather than exertion. The supply of men for the 
preparatory work was drawn largely from the adjacent country 
and gradually from a larger area, extending occasionally to Mon- 
dovi and Glencoe, with a more or less considerable contingent from 
Alma. Many of the young men who had grown up along the 
slough earned good wages at odd times or at steady work. 

Like every enterprise of such a magnitude as that connected 
with Beef Slough and the different companies or combinations 
concerned, this establishment conferred upon the people of the 
adjacent country some considerable advantages, which are perhaps 
not always fully appreciated, but which may also at times have 
[been exaggerated in the minds of some people. The company is 
: utilizing a natural privilege which otherwise could not have af- 
forded any benefit to anyone. To do so there had large sums of 
money to be expended in procuring shore rights, buying real 
estate and for work in fitting the slough and its different parts and 
'positions for the purpose of the business intended to be carried 
on. Most of this money went to parties living in the neighbor- 
hood. Then, with the recurrent season of activity there was the 
regular outlay for carrying on the general work. Of the amoun, 
so paid out to the hands of all kinds a part went directly and 
a other, and at times a more considerable part, went indirectly 
into the pockets of the people of the neighborhood. It is also to 
be acknowledged that roads and bridges along the parts of the 
shore most often passed by teams in the employ of the company 
were better taken care of and improved than in other parts in the 
neighborhood. Some of these improvements were effected by the 
order of the company through their employees, others were paid 
for by taxes assessed upon the company. There are certainly two 
sides to every thing and some disadvantages may have resulted 
from the establishment of this enterprise. Some private damages 
were claimed to have been inflicted upon some of the property 
adjacent to the log-channel by the deposition of logs, sand and 
rubbish upon lands previously useful. Where any institution of 
this magnitude is concerned, and so many people's land has to be 
passed by workmen and exposed to extra overflow on account of 
logs obstructing to a certain extent the passage of the water, it is 
to be expected that some grumbling, with and without sufficient 
cause, win occur. But these are private grievances. Public dis- 

364 ^RANSPORtAtlON. 

advantages we had but few to apprehend. The first experiences 
with the %oys" as most of common employees of the company 
were called, could hardly encourage any hope of favorable rela- 
tions between the new company and the citizens of the neighbor- 
hood. During the nineteen years which have since elapsed, mat- 
ters have gradually improved, especially under the administration 
of the resident officers and managers of the Mississippi Logging 
Company, and it is a fact that a good understanding exists be- 
tween the company and its regular employees on one hand and 
the authorities and the citizens on the other, which goes to the 
credit of either party. 

That there are exceptions to this, and occasional acts of vio- 
lence and disturbance occur, can not be denied, nor that it is some- 
times necessary to apply the law to refractory individuals. Yet, 
considering all the circumstances, I think there is but little cause 
for actual complaint. 

The company owns very much real estate and numerous 
shore rights along the Slough. These parcels of land have been 
carefully mapped, first in a book in separate sections eight inches 
square, then in a continuous map about seven and one-half feet 
long, containing all the land from Sect. 35, Tshp. 22, Rge. 13 up 
to Sect. 31, Tshp. 25, Rge. 13, in which Round Hill is situated, or 
from Alma to within two miles of Durand, in which the company 
or some individual members of the same have any claim or 

Incident to the subject of rafting, the old style of which I have 
above described among the earlier operations of the Beef Slough 
Co., we ought to remember the time, when more than 30 years 
ago, till a much later time, until after the establishment of this 
institution, not a few of our citizens earned money by the hard 
work connected with the management of an oar and other man- 
nual labor incident to rafting after the old method. For a time 
there was quite an amount of trading done with crews of rafts that 
were landed at Twelve Mile Blufi, or at Holmes' Landing. All 
this was quite desirable during a time when the resources of the 
country were yet entirely undeveloped. It is many years since 
shipping as a hand upon a raft was a habitual summer employ- 
ment with any of our lellow citizens, and but few of the younger 
generation know anything about it. Usually the shipping wae 


done at Read's Landing, that place being a sort of rendezvous for 
pilots. The rafts went sometimes as far as St. Louis, and the voy- 
age down and return consumed a considerable part of a summer. 
The work was hard, the treatment rough, the wages often small, 
payment not always secure, so that he who managed to save a few 
dollars out of a trip, might consider himself fortunate. But at 
home there was nothing to do and nothing to earn, so that any 
prospect for improving the situation, was eagerly accepted. For 
many the rough work and life had its charms and they followed 
rafting during the summer and went into the logging camps, or 
the pineries, as it was usually called, in the winter. The rafters, - 
as a class, were rather dreaded along shore, and if now they have 
•almost disappeared, it is not to be deplored. Itw"as but too often 
the character of the regular rafthands, those who followed rafting 
for a business that made the existence of the accidental hands upon 
the rafts disagreeable and even perilous. 

Long as the chapter on "Transportation" has grown, it can 
not be supposed, that the incidents and accidents still stored in tli 
memories of the earlier settlers have been exhaustively related, 
but it is believed that the main points have been carefully enough 
collected, so as to give a picture of how things once were, how 
thej' gradually changed and how they now appear. 



The varied surface of Buffalo County, for the description of 
which I refer the reader to the chapter on "Topography" destined 
it for an agricultural community. The changes of hill and dale, 
of highland and lowland, combine many advantages and disad- 
vantages, which are to be taken into general consideration before 
entering into particulars. The great advantage of this configura- 
tion is that it affords chances for manifold uses in an agricultural 
sense, that is, the country is as well adapted to the cultivation of 
the different cereals usually cultivated in corresponding latitudes, 
as to the successful propogation and development of those do- 
mestic animals found with all civilized nations, and forming one 
of the great staples-of life in the shape of meat and dairy pro- 
ducts and the uses to which wool and hides are devoted for ar- 
ticles of clothing and other subordinate appliances. There can be 
no question that a hilly country affords to live stock of any kind 
a natural protection, which is not to be found in a country essenti- 
ally level for many miles, open and subject to sweeping winds, 
and apt to experience periods of long continued droughts. The 
hills are the natural reservoirs from which springs derive their 
water, and the rills and creeks affording moisture for plants and 
drink for man and animals are certainly a most desirable provi- 
sion for the cultivator of the soil. It is true that in a hilly coun- 
try there must be some land which can not be brought under cul- 
tivation, but as wood is one of the necessaries of life, and natur- 
ally grows upon those places where the plow can not be employed 
with advantage, this seeming disadvantage is no detraction from 
the general usefulness of the land. 

Of disadvantages we must mention the difiiculties of inter- 
course or travel, which are occasioned by ascents and descents, and 
by Swampy places which are the results o imperfect natural 
drainage, and compel the inhabitants to spend much time and 


labor, or their equivalent — money-^in the building of roads, and 
in keeping them in proper condition. Another disadvantage is 
the liability of slopes which admit of cultivation, to be torn up 
and denuded of the most valuable soil. 

We must leave it to the judgment of every person to form 
their own estimate on the balance of these advantages and disad- 
vantages, whether they are about equal, or which of them pre- 
ponderates. But we may, or must, admit that we know of no 
country in which everything is endowed with only favorable pro- 
perties and conditions, and if there is one, in which no favorable 
conditions whatever exist, there is little or no danger, that it will 
become and remain the dwelling place of civilized people. 

One advantage, not, of course, to agriculturists alone, is af- 
forded by our hills, which is not yet properly appreciated, that is 
the building material, which we can get out of them in most parts 
of the county, not entirely without exertion, but comparatively 
easily, and without being compelled to transport it a great distance. 
I am aware of the fact that buildings of stone are yet quite rare es- 
pecially on farms, but we must not forget that we have not yet 
reached our highest development, which, especially in an agri- 
cultural community consists in the application of all natural re- 
sources to the exclusion of artificial ones, which in this case also 
means the substitution of the most durable material for the more 
perishable, and of permanent and enduring constructions for tem- 
porary arrangements. In spite of the fact that our beginnings 
date back over more than thirty j'ears, and that fevery one of us 
has brought with him at least some of the results of a more mature 
civilization, we can not pretend to have worked our ways to per- 
fection. Our roads, our buildings, our mode of management of 
our farms testify against us. The excuse of being in a hurry, of 
being compelled to use every expedient for assuring existence, does 
no longer hold good. It seems to an attentive and unimpassioned 
observer, that we have forgotten too much, and learned too easily, 
or at least that we have adopted certain ways and customs, which 
we considered improvements upon older ways and means, that 
were really more consistent with true economy, upon the recom- 
mendation of the moment, and cling to them without much dis- 
crimination. I do not mean to descry improvements, and to coun- 
sel a return to the customs of our forefathers, but I think that now, 


when we begin to gain some leisure, we might well undertake to 
look into many matters with a more critical eye, than we were, and 
still are, in the habit of doing. But we now have to look to the 
development of agriculture and its present status in our county. 
As in the above I have alleged that it is more than thirty years 
since agriculture began to be practiced in this county, and began 
those improvements, which were necessary for its success, in the 
way of building roads and bridges, we must not suppose, nor per- 
mit ourselves to be led by our imagination into the error, that all 
the population with all the present appliances began to work. As 
a matter of fact we must lay down the maxim, that agriculture 
can not be developed any faster than the population increases, but 
that, as every public improvement increases facilities, and de- 
creases difficulties, we might blot out the first five or ten years of 
the settlements beforfe we begin comparison with the present cir- 

Yet even then we would hardly do justice to the matter. The 
truth seems to be that up to a certain time the efforts in cultiva- 
tion are apparently so slow as to be hardly perceptible, though 
this is almost solely due to their being scattered and disconnected. 
The connection then, between the number of inhabitants and the 
progress of agricultural operations is obvious. From the census 
of population of 185.5 we learn, that in that year there were 832 
inhabitants. For the year 1850 official accounts are missing, but 
the most enthusiastic will not put the number of inhabitants pres- 
ent in that year above 50. Thomas Holmes and Major Hatch had 
left long before, and but few had assembled at the place vacated 
by them. In the chapter on " Settlement," we see how few there 
were known, is a fact that then everybody knew everybody 
else, not only because there were so few, that to know them was 
certainly easy enough, but every one was in some measure in need 
of such assistance, as had to be given personally, and found him- 
self obliged to give as well as take in this matter. The first at- 
tempt at settlement was not in the agricultural line, and very little 
could be undertaken in that way before the land was surveyed and 
in market. The table inserted in Topography shows when the 
land was surveyed, the following table shows when it came into 






When Offered. 

When Withdrawn. 

When Restored. 


10 and 11 

June 18, 1849 

June 3, 


April 5. 



10, 11 and 12 

i( . (( 





10, 11, 12 & 13 

a u 






July 15, 1853 






Oct. 17, 1852 






Nov. 15, 1863 






Oct. 17, 1853 






July 15, 1853 






Oct. 17, 1853 






Nov. 15, 1852 


11 <■ 




Oct. 17, 1853 





14 * 

Aug. 18, 1851 






July 15, 1853 






Nov. 15, 1852 






Nov. 15, 1852 






Aug. 18, 1851 






Aug. 18, 1851 






July 15, 1853 






July 16, 1853 







Nov. 15, 1852 






Aug. 18, 1851 






Aug. 18, 1851 




The differences in the time of offering the land may have 
been occasioned by delays in the reports of surveyors. The with- 
drawal of the land from market was for the purpose of giving the 
West Wisconsin Railroad a chance to select the land granted in 
aid of its construction, or rather to give it time to establish a per- 
manent survey, for the selection was not exactly a matter of choice, 
the odd numbered sections being the ones subject to its claims, 
the distinction being between a fifteen mile limit and a 
six mile limit, the land in the former being simply with- 
drawn, in the latter all land being rated at double govern- 
ment price. The . fifteen mile limit ran through townships 
22 and 23, the six mile limit through 23 and 24, nine miles 
north of the former. The even numbered sections were res- 
tored to market in about two years, the odd numbered ones in 
abourt ten years after withdrawal. Next to the possibility of buy- 


ing the land, it was desirable to have the United States Land Of- 
fice conveniently near and accessible. The first entries had to be 
made at Mineral Point, now in Iowa County. The abstract of 
entries in the office of the Register of Deeds shows that but very 
few entries were made previous to 1854 and none of them for agri- 
cultural purposes. These purchases having a nearer relation to 
settlement in general than to agriculture, they are quoted under 
that head. 

This condition of afi'airs could not endure. The destiny of 
the country was not for large towns, but for rural communities. 
The bulk of purchases in 1854 and '55 was of agricultural situa- 

The La Crosse United States Land Office was opened July 30. 
1852. This was a great convenience, as the place could be reached 
by steamboat in summer, and on foot, or with a horse or wagon, 
at any time of the year. Nevertheless there were but few entries, 
in 1852 all in March, hence before removal of the office. In 1853 
there was but one purchase, the prospective site of the county- 
seat, not for agricultural purposes. 

In making purchases the newcomers usually preferred valleys 
to bluffs, open or but slightly wooded land to heavy timber; ex- 
ceptions to that we find in the neighborhood of trading centres 
already established. Some of these selections remain puzzles to 
the subsequent settlers. Aside from the settlements on sand prai- 
ries, thai could not support any population for more than two or 
three years, we find that some people retired, voluntarily and at 
once, into inconvenient ravines, when they had the very best and 
first selection. It may have been taste, but it was certainly per- 
verted ttbSte. The want of ready money was a great obstacle to 
the extension of agricultural settlement. After the opportunity 
for purchasing had been provided, it was not proposed to "squat" 
on the land. Hope, always the strongest in adventurers, led so 
many to pre-empt, and forced' them to borrow money at any rate 
of interest, 40 per cent, being the highest Ilearned of, but the pos- 
sibility of more or higher is not to be disputed, . perhaps not even 
the fact. And for security, the certificate or patent of the land ! 
Think of that, you young men! Think of it, you, who have fought 
the battle and lost it, as well as you, who came off victorious. 
Remember who became rich and who remained poor, who drew 


interest, and who had to sweat for it. But, of course, it was a 
legitimate transaction ! 

At that time a man was well off, who owned a wagon, a plow, 
a yoke of oxen, the most necessary kitchfen and household articles, 
and an axe. A few more tools, say a couple of planes, augers, a 
hatchet and a square, made him a carpenter, a mechanic who took 
rank with the blacksmith, or next below him. Other mechanics 
had to abandon their trades and stick to the plow handle; at least 
I know many who did, either from choice or compulsion. Shoes 
and clothing were bought ready made, sometimes fit or no fit. 
Once bought, they were often worn to rags, frequently much sooner 
than expected. Mending was practiced to' some extent by the 
housewives, but that would have been a dandy sort of a bachelor, 
who would or could perform such an operation. In fact there was 
so much rough work to do, that a rough appearance seemed to be 
a piece of the eternal fitness of things. I do not mean to say that 
anybody sat down and philosophized about the matter. After six 
days hard work with the body and mind they all enjoyed a Sun- 
day's rest, provided they would get it; for in a case of necessity 
the Sunday lost its privilege, and the hay or the grain was saved 
to the imminent danger of the soul. I even know, that at a pinch, 
when some poor fellow happened to be minus a roof to the house, 
his neighbors congregated at his place, regardless of the congrega- 
tions to which they otherwise belonged, and helped him to a roof. 
By and by things improved, the fences and the houses were up, 
and crops and cattle, and their owners, had the necessary protec- 
tion. Of course, it could only be called comfort, if the abience of 
such was not felt or regretted. The extension of operations made 
machinery desirable. The first machine was, of course, a thresh- 
ing machine. Then the reaper followed; not the self-binder of 
to-day, but the machine by which the raking off was done by 
hand, and where the rakeman was glad enough to take his seat 
somewhere on the machine, as long as he could from his perch 
rake off in decent heaps, or rake off at all. The grape-vine cradle, 
which had by the time harvests were raised in this county super- 
seded the reaping hook or sickle, at least in the West, was still 
much in use, for not every one was as yet able to procure a reap- 
ing machine. Four or five binders followed such a machine each 
expected to bind up his station by the return of the machine. 


Oxen, at that time considered indispensable for breaking up 
the new land, to which the name of prairie was given more by- 
compliment, as we may call a model the machine it resembles. 
Mowing grass was done by hand much longer than harvesting, and 
the mowing machine was usually at first but a partially disman- 
tled reaper. All these machines had been invented ten, or even 
twenty years, before our own first attempts at agriculture, but the. 
manufacture of it had not yet assumed the gigantic proportions of 
today's output, and the intrepid agent had not yet taken the name 
odegion. He and his brother, the locust, were yet unknown to the 
Far West, in which our Western Wisconsin was quite naturally in- 
cluded. The introduction of horses as draught animals, at first 
scarcely desirable, became so by the improvement of the roads, 
and the introduction of harvesting, mowing, and especially thresh- 
ing machines. I suppose that the parties, who started up the first 
of these machines, — m the Waumandee, I think it was the broth- 
ers Theodore and Nick Meuli, and they brought their machine 
from Sauk Co., and took it down there again after finishing here — 
had to furnish most of the horses, five or six spans, or the few 
spans then present had to make the circuit through a whole ex- 
tensive neighborhood. The introduction of this machinery stimu- 
lated the production of the only staple article considered worthy 
of cultivation, wheat, almost to exclusiveness. The war and war 
prices had the same efiect. No regard was paid to improvement 
or even partial rest of any land; it was, or ought to be inexhaust- 
ible. For years after years the mad race continued, crop after 
crop was taken and sold, nothing was returned to the land, and — 
it came, as every sane person had known it must come; crops be- 
gan to be light, prices were reduced by poor quality and increased 
western and foreign competition, debts had accumulated and fail- 
ures were iminent. Farmers as a class are probably as intelligent 
as any other class of citizens, but there is one failing which they 
seem to possess in excess of most other classes ot industrials; they 
do not know of whom to take advice. Philosophic, scientific and 
philanthropic men,men too,who could not possibly have any selfish 
motives, had long sounded the alarm against that system of plun- 
dering and exhaustion, which was practiced by most farmers, but 
the farmers preferred the advice of the reaper agent, the man that 
had machinery to sell, whose very business and interest demanded 


that the old method of uninterrupted croppings should continue 
ad infinitum. That the agent, or rather the firm or factory should 
at length in self-defence be compelled to open the eyes of the blind, 
to seize upon the securities forfeited by neglect or inability to pay, 
may not have been to their own taste, but was as naturally the re- 
sult of the system .as the impending or actual banktruptcy of a 
great many farmers. May be somebody thinks that I have colored 
this picture too darkly, but let him try and find many pictures of 
the same subject of brighter colors, and he will soon be convinced, 
as I have been for some time already, that his task is much more 
diiiicult than mine would be, should I try in reality to find still 
darker pictures. The last ten years have worked a considerable 
change, not perhaps yet radical enough, while in some cases too 
abrupt and too radical. Agriculture, begins to occupy that posi- 
tion of conservative prudence or wisdom, which not only never 
risks all on one throw of the dice, as we might say, nor wants" the 
courage to make reasonable risks. Finally there is some venture 
in every enterprise, courage and calculation are required in any 
business, failures are possible and not always avoidable, but for 
agriculture it is safe to say that its permanent success- lies in a var- 
iation of pursuits, without stubborn devotion to one crop or one 
mode of operation, or blind exclusiveness of any kind. 

At the beginning of this chapter I have counted up the pos- 
sibility of diverse pursuits in the agricultural line as one of our 
decided advantages. I still think the same way, but this divers- 
ification can only be brought about by making live stock, that is, 
thfe useful domestic animals, the foundation of our farming. 
Breeding, feeding .and fattening, dairying, all may be practiced 
more or less extensively side by side, or one or the other predom- 
inating. Crops of grain need not therefore be excluded, and will 
certainly be none the worse, if the attention is concentrated upon 
a smaller space, i'or which assistance can easily be provided in the 
way of manuring, or a change of crops, using the one for a support 
of another and so forth. I will not write of " What I know about 
Farming," as Greeley did, for the above is merely a train of re- 
flections, which I give for what they may be worth to each reader. 
In the following tables I shall give the statistical collections on the 
agriculture of Buffalo County contained in the compendium or the 
collections of the Census of 1885, the one taken by the authority 


of the state. I call attention to the fact that agriculture is in these 
tables considered in the extended sense in which I in the above 
have suggested that it should be carried on. On a farm every- 
thing should be carried on for which the situation, the soil, other 
peculiarities, for instance the accidental training acquired by the 
owner or some member of his family in some particular pursuit 
for which there are materials on hand, may afford an opportunity. 
A farm can not be a factory, but much may be done on it, which 
differs from sonje factory work merely in the amount and in the 
preparation for it. These tables will each in its turn be presented, 
and remarks and criticism will follow directly after each. 

In this I am following the sound pedagogical maxim, that the 
presentation of the object should be the first step in teaching. Be- 
fore venturing upon the presentation of the tables I consider a few 
general remarks appropriate. 

1. These statistics were collected in each town by the Town 
Clerk, who had to report to the Clerk of the County Board of Su- 
pervisors, who in turn had to report to the Secretary of State. 

2. The accuracy of each report depended therefore on 
the proper understanding of the printed instructions, and the 
necessary diligence and attention bestowed upon the work by each 
clerk, and in the transmission through all the different hands 
until it had passed through the hands of the printer. 

3. The reliability of the reports is therefore not absolute, nor 
can they be unconditionally condemned as useless. One objection 
to the collection of them in the book is the ridiculous arrange- 
ment, not by subjects or near relation of such, but simply to ac- 
commodate matter to the page, as for instance-Zionei/ is not at all 
in connection with bees and wax, but on an entirely isolated place, 
because there was just room for that and no more on that page. 
I have corrected this]|as much as possible. 





Alma, city.' 



Buffalo, city..., 




Fountain City . 
Gilmanton . ... 










Waumandee .. 

Total . 




, 215 











































50,888 200,637 


Farm Lan d 

8 210,950 




$ 9,345 



















1,313,260 $210,710 


Fractions were omitted. There are a great many apparent 
contradictions in this table, that is, the table does not, perhapsi 
contradict itself, but is plainly incompatible with facts. The most 
glaring mistake, or perhaps misprint, is of the town of Dover. 
This town consists of a regular government township containing 
36 sections or 23,040 acres, exclusive of township fractions on the 
northside and range line fractions on the west side. The tirst 
named fractions amount to about 36 acres for each of six sections 
— 216 acres, the last named are insignificant in this case. We 
may then set down the area of Dover as 23,260 acres. Of these 
the report says that 6,9l4 acres are improved, 3,115 acres are wood- 
land and 43,618 acres unimproved. It is hardly probable that this 
mistake originated in the town, but where it did originate I can- 
not tell. Even after a deduction of 30,000 acres the farmland in 
the report exceeds the surface of the whole town by about four 
hundred acres. If we. cut off the last figure, reducing the number 
of acres of unimproved land to 4,361, we find the farmland to 
amount to 14,390 leaving 8,870 acres to be atjcounted, more than 
one-third of the whole surface, which is to my certain knowledge 
impossible. Of the town of Nelson no " Wood 'Land " is reported, 
yet every one acquainted with that town must admit, that there is 
as much woodland in it, proportionately, as can be found in any 
town of the county. It being now the largest town, it certainly 
ought to report most wood land. Other criticisms might be given 
but as this would make the chapter tedious, I will stop here, 
hoping, however, that these remarks are studied by townclerks, 
and aspirants for this important office, before another state census 
is to be taken. 

The county containing 690 square miles or 441,600 acres, 
there are 64,490 acres, or adding the 30,000 acres of an error in the 
town of Dover to it 94,490 acres, or more than one-fifth of the 
whole surface still to be accounted for. These must be distributed 
into three classes: 1. The swamplands along the Mississippi and 
Chippewa Rivers, that could not figure very extensively as farm- 
lands, but might have been booked to some extent as woodlands, 
at least as far as they are owned and held by farmers or others for 
that purpose. This class covers a very considerable part of the 
above amount. 2. United States or government land, to which 
might be added railroad indemnity land not yet sold or taken 


possession of by farmei's- This class I consider the smallest of the 
three classes. 3. Accidental errors, or actual misstatements made 
by farmers, not often purposely, but unconsciously. Some, who 
know, or at least pietend to know, every square inch of their land, 
will sometimes make guesses at the proportions or the amount 
that would astonish themselves, if they ever would takei the 
trouble to practice a little addition and subtraction in the matter. 






Alma, city 


Buffalo ;. 

Buffalo, city.... 




Fountain City 





























■ 447 























$ 5,650 






















Value . 





■ 1,614 


$ 9,215 






















$ 3111 

Alma, city 





Bufifalo, city 







2 090 



Fountain City 






Li ncoln 



2 5H6 



3 469 


























Alma, city 



$ 249 



S ,61 














































Buffalo, city 







Fountain City 

























$ 9,101 



S 2,046 


After having given the table of acreage, I think it most nat- 
ural to let the tables of crops follow immediately, as ci'ops are es- 
timated by the number of acres devoted to each. The number of 
acres of cultivated or improved land is 128,585, of which 88,245 
are reported to have been devoted to crops of all kinds, leaving 
40,340 acres unaccounted for. This number, not much less than 
one-third of the whole amount, must be credited to meadows, cul- 
tivated grasses, pastures and clover fields. It is not a bad propo- 
sition, nor do the crop reports present such very great variations 
and contradictions as I had to criticize in the reports on the gen- 
eral acreage. Incongruencies, of course, there are, but not of suf- 
ficient importance to affect general results. The next preceding 
tables treat of the grain crops. The number of acres of grain of 
all kinds is 86,526, while the other crops occupied not more than 
1,719 acres. Of the grains wheat occupied 43,247 acres, only 16 acres 
less than one-half of the whole area. Next to it comes oats 28,622 
acres, or 1,999, in round numbers 2,000, acres more than one-half 
of the wheat area. Corn figures with 13,687 acres, or 729 ares less 
than one-third of the wheat area, which seems to me somewhat 
exaggerated, but may nevertheless be true. Corn, as everybody 
knows, must be reckoned among the risky crops in our climate 
requiring, as it does, a warm summer and exemption from late, 
frosts in spring, and early ones in fall, to be successful. It is cer- 
tainly interesting to know, how much was realized, on the average 
from each acre of the different grains. The following is a state- 
ment according to the Tables; (Fractions of cents are omitted.) 
Wheat $9.70; Corn $9.82; Oats$6.50; Barley $10.22; Rye $6.51; 
Buckwheat $5.34. ' ' 

Thus it appears that barley was the best paying crop, while 
corn was 12 cents per acre ahead of wheat, oats and rye nearly 
equal, and buckwheat least. But in the emuneration of the last 
named there is one item', which diflers so much from the others as 
to-suggest a mistake somewhere. 44 acres -in the town of Glen- 
coe are reported to have yielded only 193 bushels valued at 
$166.00. The yield in all other towns shows over 10 bushels to the 
acre, while in Glencoe it is less than 5 bushels. On the other side 
the valuation per bushel runs all the way from about one-third of 
a (lollar to about two thirds, in Glencoe it reaches 85 cents. Where 
the mistake is, I can not say, but the enumeration of the value 



must be nearer right than that of the bushels. Both, however 
maybe wrong. I have already expressed my opinion, that these 
tables, and consequently the averages derived from them, are not 
absolutely reliable, yet they are the latest to be had, and must 
answer our purpose for want of better ones. 














$ 244 








state d 














$ 2,248 

Alma, city 











Buffalo, city 








Fountain City 























Mondovi '. 





Total : 



$ 1,796 


. $39,307 













Alma .-. 




Alma, city 










Buffalo, city 







424 00 





282 40 

11 00 





184 00 

Fountain City 







1 390 00 


















14 00 















31 8 00 


30 00 


44 00 


351 20 


257 00 


905 00 









This concludes the enumeration of field crops, or such as are 
estimated by the acre. A careful examination will show that the 
tables on Beans and Peas, on Roots and on Potatoes are capri- 
ciously contradictory, so that a digest of them is not worth while. 
Something similar we must say of the table on Sorghum, -when 


we find that 5J acres in one town yield 787 gallons, while 12 acres 
in another yield only 706 gallons. Differences there are and must 
be in the yield per acre, of this or any other crop, but for such 
glaring ones we can not account by anything reasonable, hence we 
refuse to believe them. Taking, however, the reports as they are 
and for what they may be worth, we find that the greatest amount 
for any town in the different crops is distributed as follow: 


Wheat Montana 73,476. 

Corn Maxville 43,805. 

Oats Naples 62,455. , , 

Barley Waumandee 16,294. ' 

Rye Milton 4,467. 

Buckwheat Maxville 1,114. , 

Beans and Peas Naples 326. 

Roots Gilmanton 1,700. 

Potatoes .Buffalo 10,583. 

Sorghum , . . .Gilmanton 4,655 Gallons. 

In the next following table we will bring the more important 
seeds raised in the fields and converted into commercial articles. 
















Alma, city 

Bel videre 


$ 20:oo 


Buffalo citv 





$ 30.00 







Fountain Citv . . . 

Gilmanton ..... 












MofJpna . 









' 68.00 





$ 60 

^f) r-i\ pa 


Wfl niT! fl Tl H PP 





$ 457.30 


$ 60 

These seed crops, though raised in the fields, are more or less 

. accidental, and can not be considered as regular. There is, how- 

ever, no reason, why flaxseed should not become a regular crop. 

It is also to be regretted, that flax should not be tiultivated for 



its fiber, as well as for its seed, and that there is not in our neigh- 
borhood any establishment, in which they are utilized as raw ma- 
terial for manufacturing purposes. 










Value . 





$ 53 


$ 21 


$ 5 

Alma, city 











Buffalo, city 












Fountain City 


































$ 1,621 


$ 2,356 





Before I could believe the report in this table as to the 
amount of bushels of apples, I would insist on accurate measure- 
ment, although I wish that the actual amount might be a hundred 
times as large as the one reported. It is one of the well founded 
objections to our section of country, that the larger fruits are not to 
be depended upon, no matter what care is taken with the 
trees. Some few localities seem to be almost created purposely 
for fruit trees and and apple_ trees do for a while grow finely, but 
all at once they wilt and wither, and nobody seems to be any wiser 
for the experience. The report on grapes is more reliable but 
seems to be incomplete, as some towns report nothing, that to my 
certain knowledge produce a creditable amount. So for instance, 
there seem to be neither apples, nor grapes, nor other berries, in the 
City of Alma, which is not true espeaially with regard to grapes. 



No. of 










$ 113.00 




$ 49 

Alma, city 



Buffalo citv. . ... 


• 21 





Fountain City 









' " " ' 26 



' ' ' '25 











Max ville 






Mondovi ^,* 

















$ 2,191 


After the study of Buffalo County statistics I suppose a man 
should not be surprised at anything not even if the town of Wau- 
mandee produces 4,435 pounds of honey without keeping any 
bees, or five towns containing together 159 colonies, do not produce 
an ounce of honey. But statistics say so! Must be true, then, 

I can not close the account of crops in this county without 
some further reflections. 

Among other things I have omitted the table on Tobacco, see- 
ing that there was only one item in it hi 2 acres, estimated crop 
2,000 pounds, valued at $200. This crop, I understand, is on 
the increase, and may become profitable in certain situations, and 
in seasons long enough to permit of its maturing properly. It is, 
however, an exhausting crop, which requires heavy manuring 
and a strong soil. 

I find a tabulation of the "Value of all other products not 
hereinbefore enumerated." I can't imagine what these products 
might be, unless pumpkins, squashes, cabbages and other garden 
truck is meant, which, I regret to say have been inadvertently 
omitted on the list. Whatever may be the material, the amount 
of ^ch products is $4,515 for the whole county, reported from 
only three towns. Whether there were not " some pumpkins" in 
the other towns, who knows? 

The list of men employed in agricultural pursuits will be 
found as the last of the tables and its remarkable statements and 
other merits duly considered. The census, of course, in its bril- 
liant arrangement, put it close to the table of implements, probably 
because " men " are only live implements. 

The most important branch of civilized husbandry, after the 
cultivation of cereals, is the care of the domestic animals, be the 
same for the ultimate use of the flesh as meat for food, or for the 
purpose of assistance in the necessary work of tillage, or any other 
work required on a farm, for transportation or other purposes. 
Neat Cattle including the bull and cow and their offspring, are 
most important domestic animals, inasmuch as they afford a more 
various utilization than any other class. Oxen are a very useful 
class of draught-animals, which, especially during the earlier years 
of the settlement of this region, were deservedly esteemed. At the 
present time working oxen are scairce, and steers are only kept 
three or four years, that is, ae long as they grow, and their flesh 



accumulates and matures rapidly. Cows are but exceptionally 
used as draft animals in this country, but in many others it is dif- 
ferent. Cows we keep fcr their milk, of which, as far as is not 
used fresh, we manufacture cheese and butter, and for breeding, 
converting their carcasses into beef, whenever they do not, or no 
longer, prove profitable alive. 'Calves are not very frequently sold 
to the butcher for veal so that even the local demand for that kind 
of meat is seldom sufficiently supplied. The subjoined table 
would be more interesting if it would present specific columns in- 
stead of the gross aggregation of cattle under one name, all the 
distinction being between those living and those killed. 



















1 17,835 







^ 1,308 . 

Alma, city 










Buffalo, city 





Cross , 

Dover \ 


Fountain City 






















1 392,847 


$ 56,057 






Alma, city 



Buffalo, city — 




Fountain City. 











Waumandee ... 




' " 150 










$ 175.00 





































The inconsistencies in the tables of " Cattle and Calves " are 
not so apparent as in some of the preceding tables, although 
the critic acquainted with the situation of the different towns 
might find some reasonable objections to make, or questions to 
ask. With regard to the tables of Dairy Products I think that that 
of Butter is more accurate than that of Cheese but that both are not 
accurate enough. That in the City of Alma neither butter nor 
cheese should be produced, may cause the impression that it is a 
factory town, with nothing rural about it, while in fact we have 
several farms within our corporation, and we know that on at least 
one of them not only butter but also cheese is produced for sale in 
town. A glaring error in the printed tables giving 60,825 pounds 
of cheese for Gilmanton, I corrected by striking out the 0, as I 
found that then the amount of value would give about 14 cents 
per pound, which would not be an unreasonable average, or about 
as much as a fair quality of cheese should bring in market. 

















$ 1,382.00 

$ 285.00 


1 342 

Alma, city 

Bel videre 










Buffalo, city 









■ 894.00| 
















Fountain City 











































$ 8,286 

The tables on Sheep and Lambs were entirely separated from 
the table on Wool, but I thought proper to unite them, since there 
can be no sheep without producing some wool, nor any wool with- 
out sheep to grow upon. The table, of these animals "on hand" 
rather surprised me, as I had no idea that there were so many 
sheep, nor can I yet imagine that not more than 1467 of these ani- 
mals were slaughtered during the year, since this number would 
afford only four heads per day for the whole county. I do not, 
however, pretend to be very accurately posted on the point. 

The tables on "Hogs" "on hand," and "slaughtered" do not 
present any contradictions beyond those common to similar tables 
with the exception of the fact, that no hog should have been 
slaughtered in the City of Alma, when it must be clear to any one 
acquainted there, that about as many hogs must have been 



slaughtered as there w«re on hand, as probably none were ever 
k€pt, except for the purpose of being slaughtered within the year. 
My nose disputes this assertion, but although it always leads, it 
still is not supposed to possess much judgment. 




Alma, city. . . 



Buffalo, city . . 
Canton ...... 


Dover ■ '. 

Fountain City 
Gilmantofl . . . 


Lincoln - . . 








Waumandee . ■ 

Total . . 





• 554 













S 2,994 






; 67,627 























. 133,347 










$ 26,535 





. 26,808 






. 25,885 

Alma, city 


Very inaccurate. 


Rather highpriced, compar- 

Buffalo, city 


Canton , 



There is some doubt about it. 

Fountain City 


Too low in price 




Comparethg last three towns. 



J do. the last two. 





Compare Naples and Nelson I 




$ 536,544 

—182.72 per head. 

I know as weU as anybody else that in no kind of domestic 
animals there is such a difference in value as in horses, but such 
a difference as we find between the valuations of some towns and 
others can not, and do not exist among horses in our county. The 
greater number of our horses are common stock, kept for common 
purposes, and only very few animals can be rated at fancy prices, 
stallions for breeding always excepted. The average price per head 
for the whole county is, according to my estimation, rather low, but 
I find that just where we might expect a high price in the sche- 
dule, we find a rather low one, and the reverse. My remarks in 
the table point to some surprises, rather than actual errors, which, 
however, are not only possible but highly probable. A most 
astonishing revelation, I think, is the statement that there are but 
13 horses in the city of Alma. I am not quite sure, but there are 
more than that in the first ward, and were in 1885. 



The following] table is given at the ^end of all the others} as 
relating to the " hired help " required in all the different bra,nches 
enumerated in the preceding ones.lljThe calculation per head dur- 
ing the whole year I have made myself from the statements given 
on the left side. This is the most astonishing of all the tables 
relating to the agricultural statistics of Buffalo County, and it 
seems impossible to explain the statements. 




Alma, city - • • • 

Belvidere . 


Buffalo, city. • - 




Fountain City. 
Gilmanton . . . . 










Waumandee . . 

Total . 

Men ' 





Wages includ- 
ing board. 

$ 576.50 





$ 68,322.50 

Wages per 

man during 

the ■ 

$ 25.04 








224.63 ■ 











I 116.75 

It is impossible to reconcile the statements upon any princi- 
ple whatever, nor is it possible to explain how such differences as 
the above could be reported. As I can not here quote the instruc- 
tions under which these statistics, or any of the preceding ones, 
were supposed to be collected, I do not want to throw the blame, 
on any one in particular, but know from experience ' that the in- 


structions sent to town clerks were liable to misinterpretation. 
Though I had nothing to do with them, and had neither time nor 
inclination to study them, I was asked more than once, what I 
■'thought to be the meaning and import of certain points in them. 
Having for many years handled the '• Educational Statistics" of 
this county, I know how difficult it is, to make some people com- 
prehend distinctions that seem to us unmistakable. 

Having already apologized for the short-comings of the sta- 
tistics given, I will only add my general opinion of statistics of all 
kinds. That they are necessary and useful no one will deny, 
always provided that they are correct. This proviso is, however, 
seldom regarded. Not that those collecting them are necessarily 
wanting in intelligence or honesty, but the means for obtaining facts 
are usually, and more especially, if the collection has to be made 
among all kinds of people, not adequate to the requirements. Take 
for instance a farmer, required to state, how many acres of im- 
proved land he possesses, and you will find that in nine out of ten 
cases he will exceed the fact. I know that almost every farmer 
whose cultivated land I had to survey, was astonished to find that 
he had less than he supposed. Then again as to woodland, unless 
it is a'forty or a definite fraction of it, there is a notorious uncer- 
tainty. These are only instances. 

Accounts of produce are also very loofeely kept, if at all. 
Sums are 'estimated on the spur of the moment, and the town clerk 
can not wait for the reflection, that might greatly modify state- 
ments, which for him it is almost impossible to contradict or to 
correct. . 

Another inherent fault of statistics is that they are frequently 
collected for one purpose and finally used for another, or that the 
purpose for which they are wanted is misuiiderstood and inquiries 
directed the wrong way. 

I will say nothing of the possibility of using statistics to prove 
the very opposite assertions, but that they are sometimes so used, 
or attempted to be used, should of itself render everybody cautious 
in the handling of them. 

But it is most certaiin that a critical study of even imperfect 
statistics would lead to a better understanding of principles on 
which they are collected, and the purposes for which they may 
and shonld be used. Any well settled and duly organized county 


would feel it as a disgrace, should anybody write about its agri- 
culture and forget to mention its fair, that annual show of pump- 
kins, squashes, cabbages and other greens, besides stock of blood 
and grade, not to say much of horses and races, the latter always 
being made sufl&cient noise about, so as not to be overlooked. The 
Agricultural Society of Buffalo County was organized during the 
summer of 1872 with Robert Henry as President, John Hunner, 
jr., as Secretary, and J. W. DeGroff as Treasurer. It held its first 
annual fair on the 9th, 10th and 11th of October of that year, on 
the fair grounds at the town of Lincoln, on Sec. 12 T. 21 R. 12, 
southwest of the bridge crossing Little Waumandee Creek in front 
of the Lincoln House. The first three fairs were moderate successes, 
but the next showed very strong decline. The site of the 
fair grounds had been selected for its central location, and its ac- 
cessibility from all points of the compass. But there were, never- 
theless some considerable objections to them. They were situated 
rather low, and on rich loamy land, on which the slightest rain 
was sure to make walking diragreeable and racing impossible. But 
the loudest complaint was on account of a want of accpmmoda-. 
tion for the visitors. There was at that time only one tavern 
within six or eight miles of the grounds, and although this was 
closely adjacent, it could accommodate but very few persons at 
best. It is true the farmers in the neighborhood extended their 
hospitality on the occasions very generously but there was still 
much dissatisfaction. After the fiith fair it was concluded to 
remove the exhibition, buildings and appurtenances, to Alma, 
where accommodations for visitors were certainly sufficient, but 
those for the fair were not very easily found. After some disputes 
the buildings were located on John Hemrich's meadow close- to the 
northern line of Section 13 of T. 21, R. 13. The buildings were 
on the slope between the Alma and Fountain City road and the 
level part, on which the race-track was laid out. The site chosen 
was about one mile below the center of the village. It was rat/her 
damp at any time, but once it was submerged and the horse^aciflg 
was converted into A logrolling match. The hall usually presented 
a very fine exhibition, but the stalls for cattle, horses and other 
animals were often empty, or filled with very indiffereint animals. 
Unpropitious circumstances diminished the att;endance very much 
the ipetitvitipn did not pay, subsidies from private pereons were 


collected almost every year, and the people, of whom some had 
cherished the most sanguine expectations, became disgusted, and 
when in 1884 the people of Mondovi proposed to transfer the ex- 
hibition to their village, there was no regret at Alma for losing it. 

The next exhibition, being the first one in Mondovi, was 
actually a greater success than any of the preceding ones, perhaps 
in everything, but more especially in cattle and horses. There 
may be some inclination to inquire into the reasons why the 
county-fair did not succeed any better in the lower part of the 
county . An almost sufincient answer may be found in looking at 
the shape of our county, and by remembering that the narrow 
part of it is also the hilly part, while the wider northern part, 
although not entirely level, is rather rolling than hilly, transporta- 
tion being more easy and not so circuitous. The northern part is 
also contiguous to parts of Trempealeau, Eau Claire and Pepin 
Counties of similar formation, and from which Mondovi can draw 
stock of all kinds. Mondovi, however, does not occupy a central 
position with regard to this county, and in fairness is not the place 
to hold any assembly consisting of the people of the whole county. 
We concede the fact that the most ambitious, or most of the am- 
bitious people do live in its vicinit}', and that this gives it a per- 
fect right and title to the county-fair. If we wish that our imme- 
diate neighbors should be more ambitious, and not qdite so jeal- 
ous of the merits of their neighbors, we hope it is no sin, but fear 
that our honest wish will not be verified. 

Public assemblages in this country will not be allowed to pass 
without considerable noise. Some of this noise is made by a band, 
and sometimes is music, but always called such by the crowd, not 
for courtesy so much, but because of the similarity with the sounds 
proper to the crowd. — The other specific noise is made by pub- 
lic speakers. What applies to assemblages in general, must, of 
course, apply to county -/airs. At our fairs we had different speak- 
ers almost every year, of whom I remember Elder Morse, Hon. 
Ed. Lees, Hon. Conrad Moser jr., Auren Rockwell, Esq., Hon 
S. D. Hubbard, Hon. E. W. Keyes, Hon. Wm. T. Price, Hon. A.' 
Finkelnburg, all of this state and Major Doughty of Lake City, 
Minnesota. During the time the fair remained in thelowerpart 
of the county, where the people of German nationality form the 
majority of the inhabitants, addresses were on most fairs delivered 


in German, for which the author of this history was usually en- 

It would hardly be of sufficient interest to the readers to in- 
sert premium lists, or award of prizes especially as we could not 
give all of them. So we may content ourselves with the notice 
that the fair for 1887 will be held at Mondovi on the 26, 27, and 
28th day of September, an.d that the officers of the Buffalo County 
Agricultural Society for the present year are: J'. W. Whelan, 
Mondovi, President; Alexander Lees, Gilmanton, Secretary, and 
Ryland Southworth, Mondovi, Treasurer. 



In the preceding chapter on " Agriculture " I have already 
expressed my conviction that, ours is an agricultural community 
and that in fact almost every part of manufacture practiced in the 
county is directly connected with agriculture, be it for depending 
on the raw material on agricultural products, or finding in agri- 
culturists the bulk of costumers for its own products. In general 
we find the conditions for manufacturing enterprises in this county 
not very favorable, and new industries will hardly spring up in 
our midst. We do not possess any surplus' quantity of raw mate- 
rial, which would want to be an object of manufacture, nor do we 
have a great abundance of natural mechanical force. Our water 
powers are almost all occupied by the existing rnills, wood is no 
longer superabundant, coal we have none at all, and if the discov- 
ery of Iron is in any degree satisfactory, it will have to be shipped 
abroad for smelting, to points where fuel is abundant; though, of 
course, it is simply a question, which of the two, the ore or the 
fuel, will cost least in transportation. 

Some explanations may be useful in the distinction between 
manufacturing and common mechanic's operations. In former 
times "manufacture" meant what the word expresses, 'Something 
made by hand." In later and in modern times it means some- 
thing produced by the aid of machinery, and by a minute div- 
ision of operations. The work of a mechanic, or artisan, a man 
working at his trade, might embrace all the operations necessary 
to turn out a certain piece of work, but it very seldom does. Then 
again two mechanics, as we often see in the familiar example of 
blacksmiths and wagon makers, might unite, and by their joint 
work produce a wagon, a plow, etc., each doing the work of his 
trade. This would not usually be regarded as manufacturing 
unless nothing but wagons, etc., would be made. But it would 
give a similar establishment the character of a factory as soon as 


there would be a greater number of men, who would either by 
hand alone or by the assistance of machines, work together for the 
construction of wagons, plows, and other agricultural implements 
requiring the same materials and much the same mechanical oper- 
ations. That such combinations of men and machines and of ma- 
terials and means of applications to specifical purposes is also 
called a factory, although the peculiar character of the work is not 
at all mechanical, and why such a combination of processes should 
be called manufacturing, is probably understood by all. 

Something ought to be said as an introduction to the statist- 
ical tables on the " Manufacturing Interests of Buffalo County '' 
from the census of 1885. — Manufacturing of any kind can not be 
carried on without room and housing, hence there is real estate con- 
nected with it. There must be raw material, or stock, and there 
must be tools and machines, or fixtures. All this can not be spe- 
cified, but possesses a monej' value, and this money yalue is, at 
least to a certain extent, if correctly stated, an indicator of the ex- 
tent of the business carried on. Then there are assistants needed 
and must be paid, which is another indication of the extent of the 
business. In introducing these tables I would be glad, if I could 
recant the remarks made with regard to the reliability, or rather 
unreliability, of such tables in the chapter on agriculture. I can 
not conscientiously do it, but I will defer special criticisms until 
after the production of the tables themselves. 








































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to the second table, as there are two mills at Mondovi, and, if I am 
not mistaken, there was also a cigar factory there two years ago. 
In regard to " Milling " there is a woeful incompleteness in the 
second table, since there are mills in the following towns, besides 
those named : Alma, Maxville, Lincoln, Glencoe, Mondovi and 
Milton. There were more mills omitted than entered. A defect 
common to both tables is the mixing up of different enterprises in 
the columns of real estate and machinery, and of stock and fix- 
tures. If the reader can learn anything from those tables, even if 
he should have the patience and fortitude to study them, I not 
only wish him joy of it, but would be obliged to him for commu- 
nicating results. The only apology I can offer for the introduc- 
duction of said tables is that I could not find any better near at 
hand, and that this introduction may strengthen the suspicion of 
thinking men as to the value of statistics. 

Although I have in the above pointed out the improbability 
of our becoming much more of a manufacturing communit}' than 
we now are, it would still be wrong to say that there is no chance 
for some improvement in this direction. Among other things we 
ought to have a flouring mill at Alma; not, of course, in opposition 
to any other mill, but for the accommodation of farmers and oth- 
ers in different ways. I might urge the necessity of this or any 
other enterprise on the plea that it would provide work for a num- 
ber of people; and I do not see why we should not act upon such 
a plea. There are, nevertheless, some people who seem to think 
that we are too many of us already, and that it would be wrong to 
do anything that might attract any more. People of that sort al- 
ways do their share to verify their own assertions by obstructing 
any public, or discouraging private enterprise, unless it should be 
to their exclusive advantage. One thing, however, is always over- 
looked by such economists; it is the fact that a town which does 
not, or will not, progress, will soon be compelled to retrench and 
to shrink. What I have said of a town, village or city applies 
with equal force to the county, and every citizen of it should en- 
courage any enterprise in the direction mentioned and indicated 

In the absence of reliable statistics on our manufacturing in- 
terests we must be excused for not doing more than enumerate fee 
different establishments according to their classification. 





Alma, town... 
Fountain City 





Misha Mokwa 




Waumandee .. 


Tritsch & Bro 

Mill Co 

J. W- Howard.... 

Wm. Sauer 

Frank Mattausch 
A. Mademann.... 
Farr & Aitkens... 

Geo. Frary 

J. T. Brownlee... 

N. K. Fisher 

John Ochsner..... 


Built by Gobar Bros. 1858. 

Built 1886. 

Built by Joel Mann 1858—59. 

Built in 1871. 

Built byKochendorfer & Wachholz 

Built by Mehrmann & Fetter 1858. 

Built by Mr. Gurley from 1858-65. 

Built by himself probably 1866. 

Built 1857 by A. & L. Gordon. 

Built in 1877. 

Built by himself 1866. 

To complete the above table I add the following historical 
notes : 

The mill ^in the town of Alma was long in possession of 
August Grams, now of La Crosse county. — The mill at Gilmanton 
usually called Mann's mill, was operated by Joel Mann for some 
time, afterwards by others, and among them Harvey B. Farring- 
ton and Otis F. Warren, who were succeeded by Mr. Howard. 

In the mill of Glencoe Henry Kessler, John Maurer, Peter 
Grass, and I believe a man by the name of Keller were in the 
course of time interested. 

Fred. Kochendorfer was the moving spirit in the erection of 
the Lincoln Mills and kept them in operation for some years. 

The mill in Milton was started by Henry Goehrke and Fred. 
Binder as a saw mill as early as 1855, but after Ferdinand Fetter 
arid Ferdinand Mehrmann had bought into the partnership it was 
converted into a flouring mill, and did for many years consider- 
able business, though interrupted every summer by the backwater 
from, the Mississippi. 

The mill at Misha Mokwa proved the financial ruin of its pro- 
jector, went through several hands, was rented to different parties 
so for instance to Peter Kleiner, was owned by J, Thoeny, now again 
at Wabasha, for several years, and sold by him to the present 

The Mondovi mill was the first erected in the northern part of 
the county and at that time a great accommodation for the neish- 


borhood. From the builders named in the table it passed to Mr 
Walter Brown, the father of Hon. Orlando and of Harvey Brown, 
deceased, who sold it to Samuel Newton, of whom ]^r. J. T. 
Brownlee bought it. 

In regard to Mr. Fisher's mill, which is a sawmill and grist- 
mill, I can not remember exactly when it was commenced, al- 
though it must have been built during 1877, at which time I was 
frequently at Mondovi; but as it is marked in the "Atlas" pub- 
lished 1878 I can not be very far wrong. There is, also, in Mon- 
dovi another mill, usually operated by wind-power, but in case of 
need by steampower, belonging to a Mr. Fisher, whether the same 
or not, I can not say. 

The mill of Mr. Ochsner in Waumandee is situated in the 
most fertile valley of this county, and has the advantage of plenty 
of water at all times. 

Most of these mills do custom work, and none has attained 
commercial importance except in local trade. The one in Foun- 
tain City is most favorably situated for transportation of material 
and products. This is the only mill in this county run entirely 
by steam power; all the others use water power by turbine wheels. 

A mill is considered a profitable investment, yet we have 
learned from the history of some of 'the mills in this county that 
the building thereof was the ruin of the owners. It would be 
wrong to suppose that this was in every ca.^e attributable to im- 
prudent management, and perhaps impossible and useless to in- 
vestigate the causes. 

The first mill in this county was the steam mill of Buehler 
and Clarke in Fountain City. It^-was erected 1856, and for some 
time worked by the owners, afterwards sold, and rented to differ- 
ent parties, until it became the property of Sigmund Kam merer, 
in whose possession it was when it burned down in 1885. It was 
not rebuilt. 

About the year 1858 J. P. Stein made an attempt to build a 
mill on the creek which bears his name. The enterprise had to 
be given up, partly on account of the obstinacy of the mill-wright, 
Ulrich Mueller, who had an unconquerable prejudice against tur 
bine wheels. 

The county may be said to be sufficiently furnished withgrist 
mills for domestic purposes, but it might be an advantage to farm- 



ers and others if a greater proportion of our surplus wheat were 
ground within the county. 



Alma (city) 

Buffalo Cclty) 

Fountain City (vil.) 







F. Laue 

Mrs. Bueker 

Henry Teckenburg 

John Bowmann.. 
N. K.Fisher 


Ert. in Alma 1866. 

See below. 

Built by Bishop & 

Carpenter 1855. 
On Spring Creek. 
Lower part of the 


Saw-mills depend in our parts on logs from the pineries; hard 
wood is only a small fraction of the material manipulated. Hence 
it is only along the Mississippi and its navigable sloughs that we 
may expect to meet saw-mills. 

The first saw-mill in the county probably was that of Goehrke 
and Binder on Waumandee Creek, the, same place where the Eagle 
Mills now stand. It was dependent almost entirely on hard wood. 
But at nearly the same time the lower saw-mill at Fountain City 
was built by Bishop and Carpenter. It passed into the hands of 
Levi. Slingluf, now in Eau Claire, and afterwards became the pro- 
perty of Henry Teckenburg, Esq. In 1857 Hon. A. Finkelnburg 
built the upper sawmill at Fountain City at the place where the 
sash and door factol-y of Roettiger & Co. now stands. It was soon 
abandoned for its purpose. 

In 1858 the Colonization Society of Cincinnati, which had 
laid out Buffalo City, built at that place, a sawmill, to which a 
gristmill was also attached. The arrangement being faulty, the 
supply of logs precarious, and the expectations of the residents 
and the members of the Colonization Society somewhat disap- 
pointed, this mill was abandoned after the mill of Bueker & Co. 
was started in the same place 1859. The latter mill was mainly 
managed by F. Lane together with Adolf Bueker, who were the 
resident members of the company. In 1865 F. Lane and C. 
Schaettle, sen., purchased the old Buffalo City mill, and worked it 
for some time, when, having purchased land of R. Beiner iust 
below the village of Alma, they removed the engine and boiler to 
that place and began the first mill of P. Lane, at first in company 


from which Mr. Sehaettle after a while retired. The business now 
belongs to Mr. Lane alone, and he is still working the engine that 
was brought to Buffalo City in 1858. — Before any extensive settle- 
ment was made at and around Alma, somebody had started up a 
sawmill above town, but I do not remember its operation, though 
I have seen trace of a log-carriage upon the place. In 1870 the 
property passed into the hands of John Bretthauer and Fred 
Fisher, who- built a sawmill on the spot. This afterwards passed 
into the hands of Gottfried Waelty, who with Mr. Geo. Williams 
and Dick Loveridge formed the " Alma Manufacturing Company " 
which, of course, manufactured lumber, lath and shingles. The 
concern passed by Sheriff's Sale into the hands of a certain Keller 
of whom Hon. R. R. Kempter purchased it. He leased the mill 
and adjoining land to the Meridean Lumber Co. and that company 
operated the mill under the management of Mr. S. V. Holstein. 
Mr. Kempter sold out to the Mississippi Logging Co. The place af- 
. fording the most eligible situation for a railroad depot, it was sold 
to the Chicago, Burlington & Northern R. R. Co. Building and 
machinery were removed. About the time when Mr, Lane moved 
to Alma, Frank Mattausch built a sawmill in the northern part of 
Fountain City, which, after several years of successful operation, 
was destroyed by tire and not rebuilt. 

Adolf Rauch and Henry Erding built a sawmill 'at Buffalo 
City some short distance below the site of the old sawmill. It is 
not now in operation.' 


The manufacture of wine is carried on in a number of towns 
in the lower part of the county, of which Fountain City, Belvidere, 
Waumandee and the City of Alma are the most prominent, but 
not the only ones. But in our climate this industry is too unreli- 
able to ever to amount to much, although the cultivation of the 
grape will be continued perhaps indefinitely. 






Fountain City 


John Hemrich 

Wm. Brueggeboos. 

John Koschitz 

Brewing Company. 


f Union Brewery. 

1 Built by himself in 1855. 

I Begun by J. A. Hunner in the 

1 old Wisconsin House 1864. 
Eagle Brewery. Built 1857. 
Built in 1885. 

Although these are all the breweries at present in working 
condition, it must not be supposed that others have not existed 
since very early dates in our history. The first attempt at Foun- 
tain City in the brewing business was made by a man named 

Alois in 1855, the plant being on the site of the plow 

factory and machine shop of Mr. John Clarke. In 1857 Mr. J. G. 
Ziegenfuss started the City Brewery, and about the same time the 
Eagle Brewery was put in operation by Fred Richter and Valen- 
tine Eder. In the Eagle Brewery the following succeeded each 
other: Richter & Eder, Xaver Ehrhardt, Ewe & Krueger, Mrs. 
Pistorius, John Koschitz. 

The City Brewery remained in the same hands until discon- 
tinued. The first brewery did not continue for more than two or 
three years. 

At Alma, the Union Brewery, being built at about the same 
time as the first brewery at Fountain City, remains still in pos- 
session of its founder, who has now every arrangement for success 
in his business. The other brewery is only in the second hand. 
A feeble attempt was made some fifteen years ago by Charles Zen- 
gel to establish another brewery above the lime. kiln and on the , 
same land, but was soon abandoned. At the time when great ex- 
pectations were the rule at Buffalo City, Mr. Schaettle built and 
furnished a brewery at the Spring Lake. At that time a deep, cool 
cellar was an indispensable attachment to every successful brew- 
ery. Such a cellar could not be furnished at the spot, and after 
sinking considerable money Mr. Schaettle gave up the enterprise. 

At Fountain City there was somewhere about 1870 a new and 
very large brewery erected and furnished, in which Henry Fiedler 
Otto Bodmer and Mike Lenhardt were concerned. It burned 


down and was not rebuilt. In its neighborhood, and on ground 
formerly belonging to it, stands now the brewery of the Fountain 
City Brewing Co. This is well arranged and well managed. 

Seeing that these breweries were all undertaken in the lower 
part of the county, some of them even at a time when the popula- 
tion was yet very thin, it can readily be imagined that there must 
have been, and there still is, a considerable demand for their pro- 
duct. As a matter of fact we have to record that these breweries 
could not always supply the demand, and that beer was largely 
imported from Milwaukee and La Crosse. The arrangements for 
an improved product, and a sufRciency of it at all times being 
now on hand, we can but regard it with satisfaction, since, the de- 
mand for beer existing, it is certainly preferable to supply it by 
home industry, for which we have the principal material on hand. 
It must not be supposed that the demand for beer is entirely con- 
fined to the southern part of the county. A "good wee drop" is 
also appreciated by a good many in the northern part, in spite of 
prejudice and opposition. 


This is one of the articles which might be manufactured here, 
as well as in other places, though we do really not produce the 
material for it. What little tobacco may be grown here, has to be 
sold, for there is not enough of it to start a factory on. Whole- 
sale production has driven manufacturers of this article in smaller 
places out of the business. 

There is at present no cigar-factory in the county. 


The only extensive factory, using and producing the articles 
at the head of this, is in Fountain City, the plow factory and 
machine shop of Mr. John Clarke. Of course, it does not com- 
pare with such factories in the large cities, but for our neighbor- 
hood is considerable enough, and affords many advantages, to 
farmers especially. Mr. Simon Mueller of Buffalo City has a 
similar arrangement on a small scale. There may be such an in- 
stitution in Modena, but if there is, I think it finds its mate in 
Gilmanton, and more than that at Mondovi. I only mention this 
because there is no result reported for Gilmanton and Mondovi 
not mentioned at all in the table. Every blacksmith shop might 


come within the scope of this table, and every town could be 
named in it. Perhaps the instructions justified the report, but a 
mistake must be somewhere. 


Leather is not manufactured here. Shoes snd boots, and har- 
nesses are certainly made in the coun.ty, though, perhaps, many 
of them, or most, are imported. It is rather curious that nothing 
of the kind is reported from Alma, since we have two saddlers, 
and harnessmakers, Mondovi one, Gilmanton and Modena perhaps 
one each, perhaps not. 


Why there should no such things be manufactured in Alma, 
I do not know, but could not assert any activity in the matter. I 
have already made remarks on that point and dislike to be forever 
criticising the census report. Wagons and sleighs have been made 
at numerous places in the county, but not in sufficient number to 
call it manufacturing. 

Having sent off the manuscript of the chapter on Agriculture 
to the printer, J, came near forgetting to mention 


Their products, butter and cheese, have to some extent been 
discussed under the head of Agriculture. This discussion, based 
upon the lucid statements of the census tables, did not men- 
tion any facts concerning creameries, although at least one of 
them, at the city of Alma, was in operation, and possibly the one 
in Fountain City also, at the time of taking the census. We have 
two creameries. The one at Alma, built early in spring 1884, 
commenced operations in May of the same year; the other at 
Fountain City commenced operations about one year later. We 
have no statistics on hand in regard to these institutions, and 
could not enter in a detailed description of processes, etc., under 
any circumstances, but think that they are doing good service to 
the farmers in many ways, besides buying their cream. They 
ought to be a success, but I understand that up to present times 
this is not assured. Cheese factories are more numerous than 
creameries, but not, perhaps, as numerous as they were some 
years ago. An inspection of the table given under Agriculture 
shows that only the factory at Mondovi reported any results in 
1885. These factories do not require so much cash capital as 


creameries, and are, therefore, not such dangerous ventures. I 
think that our county should be able to furnish all the cheese 
needed for consumption, and have considerable surplus for export. 
Cheese is, as an article of commerce, subject to great fluctuations 
in prices, but as it is much less perishable than butter, and, if of 
good quality, is much improved by age, the changes of the market 
must not necessarily be injurious to factory enterprises. There is 
at present but one considerable cheese factory in the county, that 
at Mondovi, which reported in 1885 a product of 32,684 pounds, at 
a value of $3,595.00, or something over lO cents per pound. If my 
memory serves me right this factory must have been in operation 
for 12 or more years, though its patrons sometimes deserted it, 
and it had to suspend. Small factories, working up the milk of 
50 cows or less, have been started up in many localities, by which 
the transportation of milk for long distances is avoided, an item of 
importance to our farmers at almost any season. It is not to be 
expected that the very best quality of cheese should be produced 
at these small factories, but an acceptable one is usually lurnished 
by them. I have just now, by a mere accident, learned that a 
cheese factory, exists at Gilmanton, which produces a daily aver- 
age of 250 pounds of cheese. How this iterii could have escaped 
my attention I am at a loss to explain, since I am a reader of both 
the "Journal" and the "Herald" of this county. 


I might now say somethmg about other industries, for instance 
about lime kilns and brick yards. Of the first I have said some- 
thing in " Geology" and consider it sufficient. The most import- 
ant of the second are at Alma and Fountain City. The one at 
Alma is situated contiguous to the new Bluff Road about half a 
mile east of the lower end of the town and is owned and conducted 
by Julius Wilk. The one at Fountain City belongs to J. B. Oen- 
ning and is situated at the eastern end of North Street. I have no 
means of giving any figures in regard to the annual output of 
either, but I think it varies greatly according to the season and the 
demand for the product. 

The above sketch of our manufacturing enterprises may not be 
as perfect as might be desirable, but it is all I could gather from 
available sources of information on the subject. 



Speaking of the population of Buffalo County, we have no ac- 
cessible means of ascertaining its number, or, indeed, anything else 
about it, until the time when the county had been organized, and 
in working order for more than a year. Even if we should inves- 
tigate the census reports of Crawford county for 1840, or earlier, 
and those of La Crosse county for 1850, we would hardly be any 
the wiser for it. It is very probable that the lower part of our 
county, that part below the Bufl'alo River, that is to say south and 
east of it, was nominally considered as a town or part of a town, 
and that an organization existed .somewhere to govern that town, 
probably down at Monteville, now Trempealeau village, and that 
an effort was made at the usual times, to take an account of popu- 
lation, if anybody knew anything about people living above Trem- 
pealeau River; but if such a population existed, it musthave been 
enumerated along with those who lived outside of our limits. The 
upper part of the county on the right bank of the Buffalo River, 
belonged to Chippewa county until 1854, and we might as well 
hunt a needle in a hay stack as ascertain from report of census- 
takers whether there was any population in those- parts or not. 
Circumstances the probability that there was none, or at 
least but a transient one. There might have been people at 'work 
near the mouth of the Chippewa River every winter to chop wood 
and bank it for the use of the occasional boats then beginning to 
run up to Mendota and afterwards to St. Paul, but they would 
most probably withdraw to the other side at Read's Landing or some 
other place in the spring. From its mouth to the head of Beef 
Slough, a distance of about 12 miles there was no place on the 
Chippewa which would tempt any one to settle upon it. About a 
mile above that place our northern boundary line passes of to the 

From the notes on " Pioneers " and their lives we find that in 
1840 Thomas A. Holmes, and Major Hatch must have been living 
at Holmes' Landing (Fountain City) and might have been enum- 
erated. Holmes was probably there in 1845 also, and there were 
others at the place then and in 1850, but if enumerated at all, 
were included in some large district between Black and BufiCalo 
Rivers. In the iollowing enumeration I have used the -Census 
Report of 1885, suppleujented by inquiries made at othei sources. 





W H I 

T E. 







{ 434 
' 316 



Alma (City) 



Bufialo ,.... 


Buffalo (City) 






Fountain City, village 











Mondovi (340 in vill) 











No colored persons in the county in 1885. 


United States 10,771. 

Germany 3,409. 

Great Britain 163. 

Ireland 342. 

France 22. 

British America 161. 

Scandinavia 1,323. 

Holland 39. 

Bohemia 25. 

All others... 228. 

Total 16,483. 


The only thing correct in the above is the addition. It is true, 
the distribution is quite ingenious, and offers a handsome oppor- 
tunity to hide the more important facts behind statements that 
may or may not be correct, and are hardly worth while disputing, 
A person born of German parents is certainly of German descent, 
though born in the United States. The part of our population of 
German descent must be set down as between seven and eis;ht 
thousand. Ten of the towns and corporations of the county are 
almost entirely inhabited by Germans, while in Nelson one third, 
in Cross perhaps one half, and Glencoe and Canton and other 
towns quite a number must be added. In this we must, of course, 
count in the Swiss, since they have no separate column, and can 
not very well be placed anywhere else. Most of them are actually 
of German descent, since the German is their native language. As 
with the Germans, so it is with the Scandinavians and the Irish. 
As to the natives of France, I would like to see the twenty-two 
Frenchmen, whose native language is the French, and who have 
lived in this county in 1885. Fifteen years before, there might 
have been that many persons born in the empire of France, but 
just about that time they were forcibly expatriated,, their native 
country being annexed to Germany. If there are thirty-nine Hol- 
landers, genuine Dutch, in this county, it is strange, that I never 
got acquainted with any one of them. There may be some, who 
understand that language, or are from a part of Germany under 
Netherland sovereignity, the principality of Limburg, for in- 
stance. As for natives of Bohemia, I think I can count upon my 
fingers more than fifty, of whom about ten are of Czechish descent, 
the remainder of German. Who, then, is a Bohemian? And who 
are those of all other nativities? For the historian this table is of 
no value. 

There would be some excuse for this repoit, if a politician 
could gather any instruction from it, but even for that it is unfit. 
There is but little purpose in analyzing our present population 
according to the nativity of each individual, but something 
might be said of the locution of the different nationalities. By na- 
tionality I only mean to indicate people of the same descent, using 
habitually the same language in their family intercourse and their 
religious assemblies, this being the only true distinction between 
Americans, Germans, Norwegians, Irish and Scotch among our 


population, for although the Irish and Scotch use the same Eng- 
lish among themselves as Americans do, there is still the diiffer- 
ence of descent, which among those two classes is just as tena- 
ciously remembered, as if theirs were a different language. In 
giving the location of the different nationalities it can not be ex- 
pected that every individual or family should be accounted for. 
The similarity of language and habits tends everywhere to the for- 
mation of smaller or larger centers, as is exemplified in this county 
by the fact that the lower part of it is principally inhabited by 
Germans, whole towns being entirely occupied by people of that 
descent, who form south of the line between townships 23 and 22 
the great bulk of the population. The town of Glencoe furnishes 
the only exception to that rule, but even there the Germans are 
probably as numerous as either the Irish or the Scotch. In the 
town of Cross there are a number of Scotch families, but perhaps 
not one fifth of the population is of that origin. There are some 
Scotch, and more Irish in Waumandee and Montana, not enough 
to influence a general estimate, Milton and Belvidere are entirely 
German, Buffalo and Fountain City very nearly so. The City of 
Alma may be considered as three-fourths German, the Town of 
Alma as entirely so. In the lower part of Nelson the permanent 
population, the possessors of the soil or at least the tillers of it, are 
German, the floating population and those who do not cultivate 
farms, are of different nationalities, of which, however, the Ameri- 
can, taking the word in its usual and limited application, is not so 
very prominent. The prevailing nationality on the West side of 
township 23, Range 13 and the inhabitable part of Range 14 is al- 
most entirely peopled by Germans, as well as those parts of the 
town about Bygolly Creek and the upper portion of the Trout 
Creek Valley. In that part of the county consisting of townships 
23 and 24 in their several ranges from 10 — 14 it is not very easy 
to decide whether the Americans or the Norwegians are more num- 

In the Town of Dover the Norwegians seem to form the major- 
ity, in Gilmanton the Americans prevail, in Modena, especially 
in the western part of the town, the Norwegians are certainly 
very numerous, and in the Town of Nelson, that is, especially the 
eastern and northern part of it, they have always been regarded 
as numerous enough to carry an election their own way, if they 


combined. The town of Maxville contains a very mixed popu- 
lation, Scotch, Irish, a few Germans, some Norwegians, but prob- 
ably a majority of Americans. Almost the same might be said 
of the town of Canton, although I know of no Scotch lamily in it, 
and the Germans are much more numerous llian in Maxville. The 
Town of Mondovi has a populous settlement of Norwegians in its 
southwestern part with some in the southeast corner. There are 
a few Irish faraihes also, but the town is certainly American in 
its character. The town of Naples contains a majority of Norwe- 
gians, the southern and eastern part being almost entirely settled 
by them, while they are scattered along the north end also. This 
is as nearly as I can give it the ethnographical distribution of the 
population of this county, with perhaps the exception of the Poles 
or Polanders. They are scattered along the edge towards Trem- 
pealeau Count}' in which they are certainly more numerous than 
in ours. A population may, of course, be arranged or distributed 
on other principles, but this should be done in discussing other 
topics, for instance agriculture- and manufacturing, or perhaps re- 
ligion or politics. A few comparisons are perhaps of some interest. 

The population of Buffalo County is one ninety-fifth era little 
more than one per cent of the population of the state of Wisconsin. 

The militia, that is those men who are fit and would be liable 
for militia service in case of necessity, jis 17 J per cent of the popu- 
lation. Resident veterans number about one-tenth of the militia 
or II per cent of the population. 

According to the census of 1885 there are 8887 males and 7595 
females, an excess of 1292 males. I am indebted to the State 
Historical Society for an abstract of every census taken since Buf- 
falo County had a separate political existence. 
Census of 1855^ 832 gain. 

" 1860= 3,864=3,032 = 364 t per cent. 
" 1865= 6,776=2,912 = 75 + 
" 1870=11,123=4,347 = 64 + 
" 1875=14,219=3,096 = 28 — ■' 
" " 1880=15,528=1,309 = 9 t 
" 1885=16,483= 955 = 6 + 

In the above table the plus sign (+) means a small fraction 
more than the percentage stated; the minus sign ( — ) means a small 


fraction less. According to this table the average gain was as 
follows : 

From 1855 to 1860 = 73 — per cent per annum, 

" 1860 " 1865 = 15 + 
• " 1865 " 1870 = 13 — " 

" 1870 " 1875 6 — " 

" 1875 " 1880 = 2 — " 

" 1880 " 1885 = 1 1 " 
It being a rule established by experience that the population 
of a free country, in times of peace and ordinary conditions of life, 
would increase about 2J per cent every year, or 25 per cent in ten 
years, we are naturally curious as to what may have caused the 
startling decline in the increase of our population. One of these 
causes is the direct emigration from our county to points farther 
west, where it helped to create such gains in population as we have 
had in "that blissful, never to be forgotten age, when everything 
was better than it has ever been since, or ever will be again," as 
Diedrich Knickerbocker says in his "History of New Yprk." An- 
other cause was the rapid falling off of European immigration 
since 1870, especially from Germany. The former large gain in 
every year could not come from any other source than immigra- 
tion, natural increase amounting at that time to but little, when 
many of the settlers were unmarried men, and there was some dif- 
ficulty to get married, for a partner was not very easily found. By 
the time immigration began to decline we might have hoped for a 
natural increase, but then, or soon thereafter, the rush for the west- 
ern country began. From about 1880 until 1884 there was, for in- 
stance, an actual decrease in the number of persons of school age; 
that is, of the age from 4 to 20 years. Emigration, though not en- 
tirely stopped, is now no longer alarmingly numerous, and as 
people of all kinds of creeds or opinions conform to the biblical 
precept to "increase and multiply," we may hope to see the stand- 
ard of increase in our population elevated to the normal level after 
a while. 

Our present population is about twenty times as large as that 

of thirty years ago. Its density is equal to a little less than 24 

persons to tlie mile on the general average. In some towns there 

is less, and in the cities and villages there is much greater density. 

The density of population in the town of Canton is a little over 


and in the town of Dover it is a little under twenty persons to the 
square mile, or about 32 acres to every person. In the town of 
Naples the density is twenty-six and one-half; in that of Mondovi, 
outside of the village, for which I made allowance of one square 
mile, it is but 17 and one-fourth. Of other towns, which are ir- 
regular in shape, it is not very easy to calculate the density, and, 
after all, the calculation of the average amounts practically to but 
little, except for the purposes of comparison. 

Something perhaps, is expected to-be said of the character 
of our population, though on the other side it must be remem- 
bered, that as a unit, or taken altogether, it can scarcely be ex- 
pected to possess such a thing. Having grown to twenty 
times its original bulk during thirt^ years, it has continually 
changed the relative proportions of its constituent elements, and 
although the last census claims that the greater part of it was born 
in the United States, there was perhaps not more than one-third of 
it actually born in Buffalo County. To write a characteristic of 
the preponderating nationalities seems like carrying "coal to New- 
castle," or, to use a more local comparisoti, ^' water into the Missis- 
sippi." When the county has once grown twice as old as it now is, 
there will be some occasion for analyzing the character of its pop- 
ulation, as by that time the amalgamation of the elementary con- 
stituents has had a reasonable time for its accomplishment. If, 
however, we would characterize the population with regard to the 
occupations or industries by which they are living, or which are 
carried on by them, we may set down the great majority as farm- 
ers or cultivators of the soil, and the remainder as engaged in such 
manufactures and employments as are intimately connected with 
agriculture, either in working up its produce, or in disposing of 
its surplus, and furnishing means for carrying it on. The only ex- 
ception is the Beef Slough Company, whose business is to handle 
logs in transit, while our local saw mills do not much more than 
furnish lumber required in housing the agricultural population 
and the products of its industry, be the same grain or live stock. 
The part of the population which is in no way connected with 
agiiculture or the manipulation of its products is very small. 
Merchants we have in sufficient number, but very few of them 
have entirely cut off the trade in all kinds of produce, while mills, 
breweries, creameries and cheese factories draw their raw material 


directly froni the farmer. Blacksmiths and wagoniiiakers work for 
the farmers and depend mostly on direct custom. In a word, we 
are an agricultural community, and the few and rather small vil- 
lages or cities do not change this general character. If in the pre- 
ceding remarks I have seemed reluctant in expressing ray opinions 
of the general character of our population, I do not wish to be un- 
derstood that no character exists, but that this character is not so 
very distinct from the character of tlie people of other counties as 
to be the particular subject of description, apd that it can not well 
be BO very different from characters formed under similar condi- 
tions. Our population is peaceable, frugal, honest, diligent, and 
on the whole rather conservative. There is, except during the 
time of elections, but very little excitement in any part of the 
county, and even at such times a spirit of toleration has been man 
ifested for many years. Not that we are not patriotic, but our po- 
litical education has been by degrees advanced to the point, wheie 
we can see the possibility of different opinions on any point, while 
we consider the liberty of free speech and independent thought of 
more consequence, than what is facetiously termed " harmony of 
political action," but what is really " rigid party discipline." 
There is, especially among Germans, a steady opposition against 
so-called " sumptuary laws," and while it is admitted that the ma- 
jority rules, it is also maintained that majorities are not always 
right, nor minorities always wrong, and that personal or individual 
"liberty should not be sacrificed to any political party or system . 
Indeed, this principle is the only safe-guard for toleration and free- 
dom, and while we are ready to submit to the laws, and to pre 
vent and suppress crime and disorder, we are opposed to the crea- 
tion of imaginary crimes and misdemeanors by the simple enact- 
ment of statutes, which violate the spirit of the constitution of the 
United States, and disturb the peaceable and amicable relations of 
those, who are by circumstances compelled to be neighbors, and 
would otherwise, as they have done in the past, maintain the most 
extensive toleration to each other's views and practices. I hope 
that this trait of character will ever remain, and manifest itself, as 
hitherto, in a legal and loyal way, and that we shall never expe- 
rience those disturbances, which in other places have tended to an 
interruption of good feelings, and to petty annoyances not at all 
compatible with the spirit of liberty in America or any where, else. 

420 POPDLATiOl^. 

Wherever there is a considerable population there is what is 
facetiously called "society." This is not the voluntary or involun- 
tary association of individual persons for mutual benefits usually 
called human society. This form or grade of society has long ago 
been superseded by the state and organizations connected therewith. 
"Society" is actually not so much an association as the efifect of an 
assumption, that certain persons are by some criterion to be recog- 
nized as suitable companions, and that this recognition is to be 
mutual and exclusive.- Hence not everybody belongs to "Society." 
The criterion or standard of decision for or against recognition as a 
member of "Society" is a certain submission, more or less exact- 
ing, to a code of manners and habits of thought and expression 
rather arbitrarily adopted or thoughtlessly imitated. Somebody 
has defined manners as minor morals, but to the impartial ob- 
server, and to the student of history, it is doubtful whether any 
kind of morals had particular influence on a person's standing in 
what is to be understood by "Society" as defined above. I will 
not, however, increase the number of those who rail at Society; it 
is sufficiently large already, and its labors have but seldom had 
the desired efl'ect. I intend merely to put on record that "Society" 
existed at an early period in our county. The doings of Society 
at that time were, as very often at the present, manifested by and 
at social gatherings called balls. In order to distinguish these 
balls from the concurrence of other people fof dancing and drink- 
ing. Society issued "invitations." A proof of this is the following 
relic found among papers of Mr. Peter Polin : 

Sir: — The company of Yourself and Lady is respectfully solicited 
to attend at a Ball given at the 
alma house on fkiday evening, december 31st, 1858. 

Mr. Pale n, I ai ,„ J. S. Lewis,] -r, . ■ n-, 

S. LoomislJ ^^"'^- F. Fetter, ' J Fountam City. 

F. Brown, Buffalo V. M. Gaser, Bufifalo City. 

M. J. Prindle, Durand. John Lagore, Mondovi. 

Wils. Crippin, Nelson. Wm. Coon, Eau Claire. 

Floor Manager— W. H. Gates. 

Music by the Mondovi Band, Tickets $2.50. 
«Alma, December 10, 1868. (Free Press Print, Eau Claire.) 


I am indebted to Mr. Martin Polin for communicating the 
above. There are a few curious features in it, and most of the 
names suggest reminiscences of persons and things now almost for- 
gotten. A few explanations and corrections are needed to make 
the matter intelligible to the younger generation. 

Mr. Palen meant Mr. Polin; Mr. S. Loomis may have been at 
Alma, but was probably at Gilmanton, the "Loomis' Settlement" 
as it was then called; Buffalo V. probably meant Buff'alo Village, 
the beginning of the City of Belvidere, which has now disappeared, 
except Irom the record. I don't remember any F. Brown in that 
place, although I came to Buffalo City about three months after 
the date of the above. J. S. Lewis meant John D. Lewis; Mr. 
Gaser was J. J. Gasser, a native of Unter-Hallau, Canton of Schaft- 
hausen, Switzerland, to which place he afterwards returned. He 
was a son-in-law of. Dr. Wm. Spuehr, then living on the Sand 
Prairie in the town of Eagle Mills. I do not recollect much of 
him, although I probably saw him before he departed with his 
wife in a skiff', intending to go to Cincinnati, as I was told. His 
wife died on that trip. John Lagore is John Legore, still living at 
the town of Naples, lof which at present he is chairman. The other 
names are given all right, and well known to most old settlers with 
the exception of Wm. Coon of Eau Claire. I do not consider any 
one of those named on the invitation as a typical society man. 
The Alma House mentioned in the invitation is the same built 
and kept als early as 1855 by John R. Huriburt and his wife, well 
and gratefully remembered by many of the pioneers. It was af- 
terwards kept by W. H. Gates, then by Squire J. A. Hunner, and 
after him by S. S. Cooke. Under the latter two it was called the 
American House. It passed into the hands of Jacob VVarninger, 
and served as a tenement house until it burned down August 23, 
1885, It has not since been rebuilt. 

From the general tenor and form of the invitation it must be 
inferred that the proposed ball was an American arrangement, for 
if it had been a German one there would have been more German 
names on the invitation, and those probably spelled correctly. The 
wide range over which managers had been picked up also indi- 
cates the same, and I venture to say that neither the Fountain 
City people nor any outside of Alma attended,' except, perhaps, 
Mr. Loomis and Mr. Legore. As for the execution of the invita- 


tion, it was passingly well printed on the first and embossed leaf 
of a small sheet, much as such things are done now-a-days. It 
must not be concluded from the issue of this invitation that only 
those were admitted who received it, for in that case the affair 
would not have paid. But whether it did pay or not the historian 
is not informed. Naturally, Society has prospered and multiplied 
among us, and an elite exists, for which, of course, the cities and 
villages afford the best opportunities of growth and display. It 
has well been said that it takes a great many different people to 
make the world, and there is evidently room enough for them, and 
still some left for those who consider themselves entitled to especial 
privileges, because they are not like other people. After all, the 
exclusiveness claimed and practiced by this so-called "Society" is 
harmless enough, and easily kept up, sinc^ the wise will not in- 
trude into it. The great majority of our population agree with the 

One great difference between society arrangements of 
to-day and thirty years ago is, that managers for balls need not be 
picked up over three counties, they are to be had in abundance in 
every village, and sometimes those try to manage the ball or the 
floor, who can not manage themselves temporaril}'. Whether any- 
thing similar to the last named circumstance happened in earlier 
times, may be suspected, but evidence is wanting. There is one 
cause, which is now at the bottom of the above mentioned " So- 
ciety " movement. It is the growing j^revalence of young people. 
There 'have never been two persons, no matter how nearly they 
were related.. who in every respect agreed in thought and action. 
We do not even always agree with ourselves. But when the dif- 
ferences of age are combined with those of education, of experience 
and of numberless other conditions, it would be very singular, if 
they would not manifest themselves. The fact is that our young 
folks have never experienced the hard times of their fathers, and 
do not believe in their modes of thinking and procedure. They 
consider themselves much wiser, or at any rate smarter, and they 
also consider everything smart, that differs from ordinary ways 
and ideas. Whilfe it is laudable to strive for progress, it is also not 
without good reason, to think of the exertions by which the foun- 
dations of all progress had to be built up. The possession of the 
means for an easier life, for more extended enterprises, is, however 


always a source of conceit rather than of actual wisdom. The ease 
with which many of our young people acquired their education 
has led them to think that it is much superior to that possessed 
by older persons. As one conceit is very apt to beget another, it 
is quite natural that the " Society " conceit should show itself 
evry prominently, that is, that some of our young folks should 
not only consider themselves above all of the older generation, but 
above those less favored by fortune among theii> own also. I am 
not inclined to censure any one for being young, nor for indulging 
in the follies of youth, but I confess that I am prone to laugh at 
those who grow exclusive, because they cannot agree with other 
people, and do not"; wish to learn from those who had by patience, 
labor and suffering to acquire experience. Admitting the right of 
every individual to select his own companions, and to choose his 
own pleasures, I nevertheless claim my right of private judgment, 
so provocatively exercised by " Society " people, and the priv- 
ilege o f 

" Shooting folly as it flies" 

no matter how it flock together. 

"Nomina sunt odiosa," even when their owners are proud of 
them; but if I had the choice of names from the society of thirty 
years ago, or from society of to-daj , I think I know where the bet- 
.ter material was to be found. This being out of the question we 
will dismiss the subject. 

Lest anybody should infer from the above remarks that I was 
striking at those voluntary associations of persons called societies, 
and distinguished as secret and public, as Masons, Odd, Fellows, 
etc., or Singing Societies, Shooting Societies, etc., I beg leave to re- 
fer the reader to the chapter on "Lodges and Societies." My aim 
ought to be clear enough from what I have said. The society of 
which I spoke above probably considers itself ornamental, for it is 
conceded all round that it is not useful. 

Much that might seem' to belong into this chapter had to be 
treated of in other chapters, and may be said to be scattered over 
the whole book. To repeat it here was unnecessary. 


Theoretically, education means the development of all the 
human faculties, but in the application of this definition there 
are so many differences as there are heads to , digest the aim and 
devise the means of accomplishing it. The popular, not to say 
vulgar, idea of education is that of an accumulation of knowledge 
without much regard to its intrinsic value, its logical correctness, 
and its general utility. And in practice education is very often the 
restraint of human minds by straight-jackets of many fashions, 
by shackles and manacles worked out by cranks and fanatics, and 
denominated sciences and systems. These systems and pretended 
sciences are born of definitions, hatched and pampered by more 
definitions and finally die of a surfeit of definitions, if they escape 
being strangled by common sense. Some people hare an idea 
that education is synonymous with scholarship, and that, there-- 
fore, it begins and ends in the schoolroom. Men of experience, 
possessed of the necessary candor to confess the mistakes they 
mMy have committed in common with other folks, will speak dif- 
ferently. Thej' know and will admit, that education is begun long 
before the child is old enough to enter school, and that there are 
but too many children for whom in school hardly more can be 
done than to conquer their perverse habits, especially their 
thoughtlessness and restlessness. Nor does education end in the 
schoolroom, if it ever ends during a person's life. There are 
pupils who are docile andimjiressible enough, who will cram their 
heads full of all kinds of scholastic material, but never acquire the 
habit ol keeping it fresh, bright and available by making use of it, 
while there are others who are perhaps not passive enough to re- 
reive and retain a great quantity of information, but who, either 
for natural combativeness and ambition, or sometimes by force of 
adverse circumstances develope into very useful and even dis- 


tinguished members of human society. Some are profound and 
slow, others are shallow and quick, many are ambitious and un- 
scrupulous, sn that there are as many shades and colors of mental 
difiference as there are individuals to be educated. Perhaps the 
same facts appear different to different observers, and as there 
is neither a yardstick nor a microscope to determine with any 
exactness who is right or wrong, every one adheres to his or her 
own opinions, occasionally seeking to defend the same by skulking 
behind a bulwark of systems and throwing invectives at every op- 
ponent. But returning to facts and history, I have to state that I 
shall not inquire into the possible presence or absence of educa- 
tion of the supposed pre-historic and the waning race, having dis- 
posed of these under the proper heads of Moundbuilders and 
Indians. Hence we have only to inquire into the ways and means 
of education provided by the permanent settlers, the beginning) 
progress and present status of all the arrangements developed for 
the purposes of education, as it is understood among the people, 
whether this understanding is entirely correct and comprehensive 
enough or not. Every one of the early settlers came from a civil- 
ized country and had such an education as opportunity, had af- 
forded to him, and there were not a few among them, who felt and 
deplored what apeared to them a total or partial want in that mat- 
ter, and all were generally determined that their children should 
have as good or better oportunities as they themselves had had. 
It is, however, clear to everybody, that a few men, or a few families, 
could not begin to start a school, and it is equally clear that we must 
live, before we can study. The population, rapidly as it increased 
during the first five or seven years (1853-1860) was at the time 
of the organization of the county small and dispersed over a large 
district, so that there were actually but few in the same place or 
neighborhood. An inquiry made at the office of the State Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction reveals the fact that the first report 
to that office of the schools of Buffalo County was made in 1856, 
three years after the initial steps for the organization of the county. 
Every citizen knows, or ought to know, that the constitution of our 
state provides for the education of all the. children of proper age 
living within its boundaries. 

Certain organizatory' arrangements had to be made for the pur- 
pose by laws and this organization may be sketched as follows; 


a. Each town was by the Town Superintendent divided into 
school districts, each of which was governed by the district board. 

b. The Town Superintendent had to hcense teachers and to 
report to the County Clerk, the district clerks having to report to 

c. The County Clerk had to make the report for the whole 
county to the State Superintendent. 

d. Other laws were similar to present practice, and have 
since been only revised and enlarged. 

It being a constitutional provision that the revenues of the 
State School Fund were to be divided according to the number of 
persons of school age, or from 4 to 20 years, a census had to be 
taken annually in every district, and as there is no such census 
extant previous tq,;M^ it is probable that no school district was 
formed before 18-'^.'^S|n looking up the real estate transactions of 
Jos. Berni I find; feHR"not earlier than 1856 he transferred a certain 
piece of land tc^^Jffool District No. 1 of the Town of Belvidere, 
one of the earliBst districts, certainly one of the three reported the 
same year^.^^Tiere is some reason to suppose that school was kept 
in the diMnct during the winter 1855-56. The same must be con- 
sidered fSr the other two districts, of which one was in the Town of 
Belvidere, and the other in the town of Buffalo, the latter evidentl}'' 
at Fountain City. It would be a historical curiosity to know who 
acted as town-superintendents in the two towns. In the town of 
Belvidere, for instance, there were always but very few who were 
competent for that ofhce, and I apprehend that this was at that 
time generally the case, even in towns settled almost exclusively 
by Americans. It is true that everybody feels competent to criti- 
cise the teacher, but that is not to be wondered at, since most citi- 
zens feel competent to exercise their dearest privilege of criticising- 
every thing and everybody from the President and the whole gov- 
ernment of the United States down to his humblest neighbor. 

Criticism, then, is a habit, and sometimes it is very thought- 
lessly applied. The sj'stem of town superintendency had a good 
many faults, one of which I have already hinted on. Another 
was the local pressure which could so easily be brought to bear 
upon a neighbor if he refused a certificate to a favorite school 
ma'am. Then, of course, it was a post of honor, hence without 
pay, and naturally more of .aji annoyance ,to the possessor than 


anything else. Experience finally showed the folly of the system, 
and in 1861 the legislature created, by Chapter 17.9 of the General 
Laws, the office of county superintendent of schools. The changes 
contemplated and in time produced by this law were as follows: 

1. It abolished the town superintendency, and substituted 
the county superintendency of the public schools. 

2. The school district clerks had now to report to the town 
clerk, and he to the county superintendent, who, in his turn, had 
to report to the state superintendent. 

3. The division of towns into school districts and what per- 
tained to that, was transferred from the town superintendent to the 
town board of supervisors. 

4. The examination of teachers was more definitely specified, 
both as to quality and time, and was made a public affair, at least 
in general. 

5. The county superintendent had jurisdiction over the teach- 
ers and schools in general, but none, not even in case of an ap- 
peal, on formation of districts. 

6. A minimum salary was determined by law, and compe- 
tent men found at least some compensation for the time and pains 
bestowed upon the office of county superintendent of schools. 

Aside from the fact that the new system was manifestly-better 
in its whole organization, it was especially an improvement in re- 
gard to selection among so many more. In a whole county, ex- 
cept, perhaps, during the time of its organization and early settle- 
ment, there was a much greater possibility of finding a competent 
man, and a greater probability of actually electing him, than in 
single towns. — In the same proportion the county superintendent 
was removed trom local influences. He must live in some one 
town or corporation, but would not live in more than one at a 

With the extended circle of jurisdiction and operation an in- 
creasing experience was furnished, by which greater perfection in 
the practical capacity of any incumbent of the office might follow. 
The objectionable point in the law was that it did not provide for 
a sufficient salary to allow a man to spend aU his time in and for 
his official work. This has since been remedied. 

The successive incumbents of this office will be found enum- 
erated in the chapter on Organization, among the other county 


officers. To analyze the work of each, to praise or to blame, can 
hardly be expected of me, for of the number all but two are still 
residents of this county, and probably all of them are yet alive. 
Having had the longest terms of all, I may be excused from crit- 
icising myself and my predecessors and successors. Like every- 
thing else education had some beginning in this county bnt it did 
not grow so very fast at first. The reasons for this delay I indi- 
cated above. Inquiries at the office of the State Superintendent 
showed : 

1. That there was no report for 1855. 

2. That the first report was made for 1856. In brief it was: 

Number of districts 3. 

" " children,' male 102.- 
" " " female 88. 

Total 190. 

The districts were distributed as follows: 

Beividere 2; one whole and one joint district. 
Buffalo 1. 
The location of the j )i_.!;-district does not clearly appear, but 
it being reported for the town of Beividere, the school house must 
have been in that town. After this beginning school districts 
multiplied rapidly and the report for 1866 is as follows: 
Number of districts 52. 

" " children, male 1,300. 
" " " female 1,145. 

Total 2,445. 

It appears from this that during the ten intervening years 49 
new districts had been formed or almost 5, on an average, each 

Ten years later; 1876, the report is: 
Number of districts 74. 

" ■' tfHchers required 8l. 
•' male children 2966. 
" leiiiale " 2899. 

Total number of cliildreii 5865. 
Of these 3753 were registered as attending .school, which is 
62.2 per cent, of the whole number. 


Comparing the school population of 186G with that of 1876 
we find that it increased very nearly 140 per cent during the ten 
years or nearly 14 percent, in every year. This decade marks the 
greatest increase in the school population although in the general 
aggregate of the population the increase was but 13 per cent, per 
annum for the first, and only 6 per cent, per annum for the sec- 
ond half of the decade from 1-865 to 1875. This may seem para- 
doxical, but it may be satisfactorily explained by rpference to the 
tables given under the chapter of " Population." To" do this here 
I think rather unimportune, and leave it to those who are fonder 
of statistics than most of my readers. The statistics of our schools 
for 1885 are as follows: 

Number of districts 82. 

" " teachers required 92. 
" male children... 3,145. 

" " female " ...3,032. 

Total number of children 6,177, 
The reported attendance for this year was 3,798 or 61.4 per 
cent, of the whole number. 

For 1886 the statistics are as follows: 
Number of districts 82. 

" " teachers required 92. 

" " male children 3,240. 

" " female " 3,111. 

Total number of children 6,351. 

Reported attendance 3,977 or 63.9 per cent. 

Comparing the school population of 1876 with that of 1886 
we find an increase of only 485, or but little over 8 per cent, for 
the whole decade. There was, however a period in it when for 
three, and perhaps four years, the school population decreased. 

Most people will understand that the difference between the 
number of school districts, and the number of teachers required 
to teach the schools arif>es from the fact of there being a number 
of graded schools. I can not tell exactly how many, if any, 
graded schools were established in 1866. But in 1872, at my first 
visit to the schools as County Superintendent there were only two, 
one in Fountain City, with two teachers, and one in Alma, with 

430 teDUCATION. 

the same number. But in 1876 we find that it required six teach- 
ers more than the number of districts. 

I think the division of these six teachers was as follows: 

Alma one district 3 teachers. 

Fountain City one dist.. 3 " 

Mondovi one dist 2 " 

Waumandee dist. No. 2 2 

4 districts 10 teachers. 

I state that from memory and may be, though not necessarily, 
mistaken. In 1885 and 1886 the number of teachers required ex- 
ceeds that of school districts by 10, of which the distribution is as 

Alma, one district 5 teachers. 

Fountain City, one dist.. 4 '' 

Mondovi, one dist 3 " 

Waumandee, Dist. No. 2 2 " 

4 Districts 14 teachers. 

For the ensuing year 1887-88 the number of teachers will re- 
main the same, but-the distribution will be as follows: 

Alma 6 teachers. 

Fountain City 4 " 

Mondovi 3 " 

3 Districts 13 teachers. 

District No. 2 Waumandee has, I understand, temporarily 
abandoned the practice of employing two teachers during the win- 
ter term . 

The foregoing explanations show the advances made towards 
a higher grade of schools, according to the requirements of the in- 
crease in the school population and the elevation of the popular 
standard of education. 

A school needs a house, at least in our climate, and the school- 
house is in fact the first visible effort at education in most districts. 
Every reader remembers some one or more of the primitive 
schoolhouses in our county. The schoolhouses were somewhat in 
keeping with the other houses of the period, and no one will blame 
the builders of either class of houses, for we know why they were 
no better, and we also know, that that generation fel.t as happy in 


them, as we do now in the better and stylish ones. Yet we 
would not return to them, nor do we believe that either then or 
now such good results in instruction, and in education in general, 
could be obtained in the old schoolhouses with the old benches 
and the three by four feet blackboards. Of course, we know that 
some good scholars were educated or started in education in very 
poor schoolhouses and under very unfavorable conditions. But 
while we admit this and on the other side do not claim that our 
superior houses and arrangements will make first class scholars of 
all pupils, we are nevertheless proud of our improvements. 

I will not go further back than my own first experiences with 
the schoolhouses of this county in j.872. What I found then had 
been constructed during previous y-sars. 

Alma and Fountain City had brick houses, Mondovi a large 
and rather stylish fiame building. Out in the country there were 
more log-houses than others though 'Waumandee had one school- 
house of brick, and frame houses began to appear, especially where 
large timber was scarce or boards conveniently procurable. A 
log house properly built s b}' no means a despicable structure even 
for a schoolhouse, but in most schoolhouses, and in most other 
houses built of logs, at least as far as my observations went, there 
was neither skill nor diligence enough expended to make Ihe edi- 
fice a success. In most places, however, there was a desire to 
patch and mend so as to keep the room at least warm, but this 
was not always possible, and now and then totally neglected, in 
which case ventilation prevailed to an uncomfortable degree. And' 
then the long benches, which among many uncomfortable qualities 
had the one, especially annoying, to compel the whole school to 
get into a commotion when a class of three or four pupils was 
wanted upon the floor. Usually those benches had not made any 
acquaintance with a smoothing plane and to write a decent line in 
a copybook, if indeed writing was practiced at all was a feat not to 
be accomplished without great caution and care. The temperature 
of the schoolroom was very variable, both as to the parts of it and 
as to the time of the day. Near the stove the pupils were almost 
roasted, in the corners and along the walls they shivered. In the 
morning it took a full hour or more to get the fire up to eflSciency, 
about noon the heat grew stifling, especially if ventilation was poor 
or totally neglected, and at that heat the room was kept during 


the whole afternoon, the only reduction occurring at recess. Of 
ventilation we will say nothing, we will not waste our breath 
about what never had any existence in most schoolhouses, not- 
withstanding the stereotyped report of numerous townclerks that 
all their schoolhouses were properly ventilated. But as I said, I 
do not wish to be too severe in my judgment upon schools and 
their surroundings as I found them. I do not, however, feel so 
lenient, when I remember the struggles I had with some~ofthe 
district boards in trying to do my duty in advising and urging im- 
provements. It is impossible to go into particulars, and it would 
be useless to cite cases of that kind by town and number, but I 
remember one district which had pre-eminently the meanest 
schoolhouse in the whole county, and which had been threatened 
with condemnation of the same by my predecessor. That district 
begged and hesitated, expostulated and prevaricated during six 
long years, until finally, just as I went out of office, the new 
schoolhouse was up, but not yet ready to be used. 

I would not be fair to the people of this coynty, if I would not 
state, that, although during the period of three consecutive terms, 
or six years, I had never actually attempted to secure the condem- 
nation of any schoolhouse for being unfit for its purpose, I yet had 
the satisfaction of seeing many new schoolhouses built and others 
greatly improved. My successor had two schoolhouses con- 
demned, the only instance on' record of such proceedings. At 
present, after a period of 15 years, there is but one old and one 
new building constructed of logs used for school purposes. As a 
matter of history I W'ill mention, that the city or rather school dis- 
trict, of Alma has this year built a new schoolhouse according to 
the best known model, with furnaces and ventilation accordin'g to 
the Ruttan System. That a new schoolhouse w-as needed hardly 
any one will deny. Years ago, in 1882, it was found necessary to 
employ a fifth teacher. As there was no chance to construct a 
fifth room in the old schoolhouse, the little Singers' Hall wrs 
bought, and the primary department instituted therein. But that 
room was entirely too small, and for no more than 48 pupils seats 
could be provided in it, in which I actually counted at one of my 
visits 74 pupils, there being in the neighborhood of 100 on the 
register. The cost of the new schoolhouse and all its arrangements 
I might easily state, but I will leave that to be ascertained by 


those, who can not value anything except by dollars and cents. 
A high school department has been introduced and six teachers 
are now employed at the school. 

The schoolhouse at Fountain City too has some years ago 
been greatly improved, both as to light and ventilation. 

Another fight was that for the introduction of better furniture. 
Patent furniture was indeed in earlier times so high in price, that 
the objection to its purchase was excusable. But it was not 
long so. 

Regarding books there was some trouble to effect a uniformity 
in some districts, mostly because of the carelessness of the district 
boards, but such cases were so rare, as not to be particularly re- 

Maps, blackboards and other apparatus were sometimes want- 
ing at other times defective and in most cases neglected. There isa 
curious experience in regard to such matters, and it shows, how 
little most school-officers are capable of discriminating in their 
purchases. Some times maps, charts and other things are sold by 
agents in almost every district, even regardless of price, then again 
it is almost impossible to sell anything of the kind. One instance 
of a prodigious sale of such a character deserves to be mentioned 
Some time in 1872 or 73 an agent went around with tablets of 
arithmetical formulas issued by one Wood, pretending to teach 
arithmetic perfectly by their use. There were some thirty or more 
tablets mounted on pasteboard, both sides, and at some places 
they were sold for $30.00 at others for less. The double tablet, if 
the formulas had been reliable would have been worth about 25 
cents, but as this condition was not observed the whole of them 
were not worth even that. 

As a remarkable instance of a formula from these tables I give 

the following: 

To find the area of a piece of land: 

Multiply the length by the width and divide the product 
by 160. 

Every one knows that this is true only when the measure- 
ments have been taken and expressed by rods, in all other cases 
it is false, and even when rod measure has been used, the division 
by 160 will only give the acreage and not the area of a piece in 


But it is useless to say more about it, and it is only mentioned 
to show the gullibility of some schoolboards, and their readiness 
to throw away money at useless things, while they are but too 
often short of funds, when competent authority recommends im- 

In this connection I may mention school libraries, of which 
we find a few, the only ones of some importance being at Foun- 
tain City and Alma. While the library at Fountain City and the 
mineral and other collections attached thereto have been growing 
in number and value every year, the one in Alma has almost dis- 
appeared and the books in it are few and neglected. In connec- 
tion with collections at Fountain Cit}' I think that many valuable 
specimens in the same have been donated by Mr. William A. 
Finkelnburg, Attorney at Law, now at Winona, Minn., but form- 
erly a pupil of the school at Fountain City, his birthplace. On 
the whole it is a credit to the schoolboard and the successive 
principals of the school to find the library in such good order 
and completeness. Let others take an example. Besides houses, 
furniture and other requisites, schools need teachers. In fact the 
other paraphernalia might be accidentally absent, and a teacher, 
one who deserves the name, present, a school would be in oper- 
ation as soon as the teacher would meet pupils. 'This, however 
must not be contorted into the assertion that a good teacher is all 
that is wanted, on the contrary the best teacher, though capable of 
working effectively with the least arrangements and apparatus and 
other auxiliaries, is well aware of their usefulness, and always 
eager to have, and to use the best of them. 

Not only in the history of new settlements, but everywhere 
we find that mankind makes use of the material on hand much 
rather than look for better. This applies very forcibly to the em- 
ployment of the first teachers in our county and certainly in any 
new county. The school teacher, who in such places does not have 
more than three or four months of employment during the 3'^ear, 
and poor pay for that time, can not be expected to represent the 
highest type of the profession, if, indeed, a professional teacher 
happens to lose himself into such a place. But schools are to be 
taught, and so the person who ofi'ers to teach, is usually employed 
without asking many perplexing questions. Most of the town 
superintendents were equally innocent of any intention of bother- 


ing the teachers in that way. But-these primitive times of happi- 
ness of schoolma'ams and schoolmasters were not destined to last 
forever. With the introduction of the county superintendency a 
change of system, a more vigorous examination and supervision 
began to prevail. It was, of course, impossible to change every- 
thing at once, and to recast the old material into new forms and to 
make it available in these forms. Nor was the county superinten- 
dent placed into the position to enforce the laws in their apparent 
strictness. The "private examination"' and the "limited certifi- 
cate" afforded the sly and indolent one or the other chance to 
escape from the dreaded ordeal. Indeed, the material had yet to 
be imported or to grow up. Imported material had to be tried, 
the growing'material had to mature. All this required time. The 
people, also, required time to get familiar with and .accustomed 
to the county superintendency. Personally I did not make any 
acquaintance with that institution during the time I was teaching 
at Buffalo City, being under the superintendenc)'' of the City 
Superintendent Chas. Schaettle, sr., Esq. But the system began 
to tell upon teachers and schools for the advantage of either. The 
annual examination, though by no means a perfect criterion of a 
teacher's actual efficiency, compelled all alike to come up to at 
least some medium standard, or to let people know by their cer- 
tificate that they were unable to reach it. 

The law creating the office of county superintendent does not 
specify the branches of instruction over which the examination 
had to extend; hence it is to be supposed that a law in that regard 
existed for the direction of town superintendents. There was, 
however, as I know from documents, a practice of granting first, 
second, and third grade certificates, before 1872 upon much the 
same examinations as now, but in 1871, after the 1st day of Sep- 
tember of that year, examijiation in the Constitution of the 
United States and of the State of Wisconsin was added in all grades 
of certificates and made obligatory. A standard of attainments 
was really never determined and superintendents were left to the 
indications of the partial digest of the sehool laws published with 
these laws from time to time. A standard of a different kind, how- 
ever, prevailed. It was required for full third giade to answer 
correctly at least one-half of the questions in each branch or fifty 
per cent. This seemed to me insufficient, and I required 65 per 


cent for full third grade certificates, and 80 per cent in common, 
or third grade branches, for either second or first grade certificates, 
besides the extra branches demanded for the higher grades. This 
created at first a sort of panic among applicants, but the jus- 
tice of the deman,i was finally acknowledged and the standard 
so fixed has been retained ever since. This enabled the superin- 
tendent also to fix a minimum standard for limited certificates, 
which was equal to the old standard for full grade, at 50 per cent. 
Although I set my face from the beginning against private 
examinations, it took some years until people understood, that 
such would not be granted if they could be refused, (and in most 
cases they should and could be refused), and applications for such 
became fewer, and at last nearly ceased. Whatever may have been 
the intention of the law in creating third grade certificates, it must 
be confessed that the permission of a difference in these, some being 
limited, made this class r grade the general standard. In fact 
there were but very few schools in this county, in which a teacher 
was required to teach any of the branches in which he had to be 
examined for a second grade certificate, and it was of superior im- 
portance to have teachers well qualified to teach the common 
branches. A significant example of how a teacher with a second 
grade certificate might prove incompetent in teaching these com- 
mon branches, I had in a gentleman holding such a certificate when 
I went into office, and to whom at first I granted one of the same 
grade myself, but was finally compelled to refuse any certificate 
on account of his flagrant deficiency in orthography and gram- 
mar. It is not necessary to give his name, but some of the older 
teachers will know him from this description. The legislature of 
1885 passed a law requiring physiology and hygiene to be taught 
in every school, with especial reference to the effects of stimulants 
and narcotics upon the human body. This law, injudicious as I 
consider it, required an examination in these two branches, which, 
however, as very closely connected, I considered as one and the 
same. This is the present status of examinations as far as quan- 
tity is concerned. My 'own views of examinations in general I 
have so often laid down in the Educational Column of the 
"Journal" and the "Republikaner" that it will be sufficient to 
mention them here but very briefly. Examinations are necessary, 
and they have under existing conditions been the means of elevat- 


ing the standard of scholarship among teachers, and in turn of the 
schools. That they are as efficient or sufficient for all purposes as 
they should be, I doubt, but I do not therefore agree with the 
crude and antiquated notions of those, who think that a minimum 
of scholarship with a knack of governing a school, is all that 
should be demanded of a teacher, insinuating thereby, that a high 
grade of scholarship is rather unfitting a teacher for his duties. 
My maxim is, and always has been, that no one can teach any- 
thing which he has not learned, and that a more perfect knowledge 
enables any person to teach more perfectly. 

Without flattering, or without intending to detract from the 
merits of teachers of other counties, I think I am justified in say- 
ing that the teachers of this county are at present as well fitted for 
their duties as those of any adjoining counties, and that even the 
pupils of some Normal Schools might find their match among 
them. We have some among them too, who have been at the 
Normal School at River Falls in this state. 

As everywhere in this country we have a number of persons 
among our teachers, who do not intend to make teaching a pro- 
fession, and for whom itdoes not pay to spend much more money 
in the preparation for their duties as teachers than it will cost to 
furnish them a thorough common school education. This is per- 
haps to be deplored, though it has some redeeming features, espe- 
cially in preventing the profession from becoming too pedagogical 
or rather pedantic, and in furnishing a number of young people a 
valuable experience. Applicants for certificates, and also for situa- 
tions as teachers, were always numerous enough, usually about 
120, but in 1886 there were 139 in spring, and every year about 60 
in the fall. In the spring examination there were alwaj's some 
pupils of the common schools, who did not so -much desire to re- 
ceive certificates, than to see what they were able to do towards 
earning such. Admitting that this has sometimes been rather an- 
noying to the superintendent, especially as some crowded in who 
had no business to come, it was encouraged as a means of emula- 
tion. In connection with teachers and the improvement in their 
attainments we must mention the Teachers' Institute. The law 
organizing the county superintendency requires every superinten- 
dent to hold at least one Teachers' Institute during each year. 
I have heard of but one short institute having been held previous 


to 1871. The great impediment to these institutes was that 
neither superintendents nor teachers in the new western counties 
had much of an idea what was to be done. It was found neces- 
cary to assign the lead in the institutes to some persons who had 
been practically engaged at normal school work. 

In 1871, in the first institute I ever attended, and which was 
held at the schoolhouse at Fountain City, Prof. Charles Allen was 
the conductor. The attendance was, notwithstanding the location 
not being very central, still considerable. 

The following year Prof. Allen was again assigned to our 
county, but, owing to his pending reitioval to California, did not 
come, and I had to shift for myself. The institute remained in 
session for about three days when it disbanded. 

In 1873 Prof. D. McGregor, then as now of Platteville Normal 
School, was our leader; in 1874 Prof A. 0. Wright, now Secretary 
of the State Board of Charities. During the ensuing three years 
Prof. Albert Earthman, then of Rirer Palls Normal School, was the 
conductor of our institute. During the first year .of Mr. Rathbun's 
administration of the office Prof. J. B. Thayer, then of River 
Falls Normal School, conducted the institute. The following year 
Prof. Troining was the conductor and State Superintendent 
Whitford delivered a lecture. I think Prof. Thayer came again 
the two years afterwards, as also in 1882 and 1883. In 1884 Prof. 
Barker, formerly county superintendent of Pepin County, con- 
ducted the institute. He was followed the next year by Prof. C. 
H. Keyes, who waa then principal of .the public schools at River 
Falls, and in 1886 Prof. Thayer came again. Mr. Rathbun had 
introduced institutes of two weeks duration, but under my next 
administration we returned to those of one week for the reason that 
the attendance,* though perhaps not more numerous, was more 
regular, so that probably as much efficient work was done as 
would have been accomplished in two weeks. 

The attendance at the institute was not uniform as to num- 
bers. It was sometimes held at inconvenient dates, during har- 
vest, or when teachers were prevented by other occupation during 
vacation months. The highest number was reached in 1884 when 
the ladies expected to be entertained free of charge by the citizens 
of Alma, an expectation largely realized for some years. This prac- 
tice being finally abandoned, the attendance declined to little more 


than one half of the highest number, ranging from forty upward 
to sixty or sixty-five. 

The regular custom was to have one evening during the week 
for lectures, one of which was delivered by Mr. Geo. Harper 
and one by myself, as long as I was superintendent. 

Sometimes Dr^ Seller volunteered an essay especially on hy- 
giene connected with schools, a theme not only very interesting 
but also of great practical importance, especially after the legisla- 
ture went into converting people by temperance lectures to be de- 
livered by the teachers. 

The institute of 1887 was conducted by Prof. Brier, principal 
of the Sauk City High School, Superintendent Geo. Schmidt as- 
sisting. I attended every afternoon, but did not take part in any- 
thing except History. I consider Prof. Brier well qualitied for 
the position of institute conductor. The lectures were on Tuesday 
Aug. 30, by Dr. Seller on Instruction in Physiology and Hygiene 
in the Schools. The Doctor forgot to touch on some articles of 
stimulation in general use, especially upon tobacco. He probably 
thought it was not necessary to teach the boys to smoke and there 
I agree with him. 

Mr. Harper read on "English as she is spoke." The lecture 
was remarkable for quotations of far-fetched word-derivations by 
sundry authors, among them Prof Stephen Carpenter, late of the 
State University. But there was one good point in it, of which 
some of the young wielders of the birch might take note — (of course, 
I know they won't) — about the Scotchman who prided himself on 
his English — or rather not Scottish — accent but was told by a 
drunken "Cockney" that he was "a bloody Scotchman." Among 
the wonders happening at this institute was the appearance of Dr. 
Stearns and his delivering a lecture. The "Doctor" is competent, 
though missing it in some of the details, when speaking about 
future certificates. Regarding the principle of not employing any 
one who had no experience, I will not say anything; but I thought 
of the fellow, who would not go into the water, until he had 
.learned to swim. Dr. Stearns lectured on the ''Teacher'" on Thurs- 
day night. The attendance at the institute was 57 all told. 

Among the duties of the Superintendent is the one that he 
^should visit every school once in each year and oftener if required. 
This duty is not specifically imposed upon him by the law of 


1861 above referred to, but simply that he should "visit and in- 
spect schools." I wonder whether the legislature thought he could 
inspect without visiting them! In practice, however, it was the 
reverse, the superintendent was expected to visit, but not to in- 
spect the schools. At least he ought not to show any marks of 
his inspection; though he might praise, he wag not expected to 
criticise. Some schoolboards who were so ready to resent the 
shaking of a finger at their school and its fixtures, were almost 
as sensitive at the most casual neglect to visit their district. It 
has before been remarked that the powers of the superintendent 
were not adequate to the enforcement of the laws in their apparent 
strictness. He soon found that the people were applying the law 
against himself, much more punctiliously, than they were tolerant 
to his application of the laws as the same were directed against the 
carelessness, negligence and obstinacy of some school boards. 

But the law was probably obeyed by every superintendent 
according to his estimate of the necessity of the visits. It was no 
easy task to visit from 76 to 93 schools during a winter term, and 
to the latter number had the schools grown in 1882, considering 
that the visits had to be made during the months of December, 
January and February. Winter schools, graded ones excepted, 
began about the first of November or later. Giving the teacher 
about one month to get his school into working condition, would 
put the beginning of visitation to about December 1st, which 
would leave three weeks in that month, since vacation was as sure 
as holidays. To delay beyond the 1st of March would often make 
travel dangerous if not impossible. To merely look in at the 
schoolroom, without observing or having time to observe, any 
great part of the work going on, might be a visit, but certainly no 
inspection or visitation, and would amount to scarcely more than 
nothing.. To spend more than half a day or the better part of it in 
any school was out of the question, since, even with the greatest ■ 
caution and diligence not more than eight schools per week on an 
average could be visited, allowing for interruption by impassable 
roads or extremely cold weather. Summer schools were usually 
between 50 and 60 in number and travel easy enough, if not al- 
ways delightful. The short terms and the scattered situations of 
the schools very often prevented a visit to all, h,nd might have ex- 
cused ocoasional slights. The question whether the official visits 


of the County Superintendent were of any considerable benefit to 
schools and teachers, must be answered affirmatively, although 
now and then they were time and ^tiouble wasted. I introduced 
a system of term reports, not to be made monthly, but delivered 
to the Supei-intendent at the time of his visit, and by him com- 
pleted, criticised, accepted or rejected. A copy being usually left 
with the teacher and by him or directly by the Superintendent 
delivered to the district board, served at once as a notice of the 
visit and its result, and as an admonition for desirable improve- 
ments. Though partially abandoned by Mr. Ra|;hbun (78 to 82) 
it has found favor with the people as an honest attempt of giving 
them the desired information. We have seen from the foregoing 
that in 1856 there were but three districts, one of them a joint dis- 
trict. I have diligently inquired into the location of that joint 
district, and found that even the first chairman of the town of Bel- 
videre from which the said district was reported, could not en- 
lighten me on the subject. So we have only two authentical dis- 
tricts, in which school has been taught during the winter term of 
1855 — 56. The district in the town of Buffalo had its schoolhouse 
in Fountain City. The following were the teachers before 1861: 

1855 — 56. A Mr. Mead, a young man, who left again. 

1856 — 67. A Miss Steuben, who came from and returned 
to Ohio. 

1857 — 58. I have no report. * 

1858 — 59. A photograph artist who had his gallery on a flat- 

1859 — 61. Henry Kessler, who afterwards went to the war 
with Comp. H. of 6th Inf. He returned and 
taught again in Fountain City and other places. 

The district No. 1 of the Town of Belvidere, in which school 
was taught as early as at Fountain City, had then and has now its 
schoolhouse on the northern line of the Southwest Quarter of Sec- 
tion 9 of Tshp. 20, Rge. 12, at the fork of the Alma and Fountain 
City and the Probst Valley Road. The first teachers, from 55 to 
59 were: 

1855—1856. Miss Fannie Bishop, daughter or niece of Collins 
Bishop, then a resident of the district. 

1856—57. Mr. Samuel Hardy, then working for John Linse. 


1857 — 58. Robert Strohmann, afterwards County Surveyor. 

Went to the war,and did not return toBufFaloCounty. 

1858 — 59. Thomas More, brother of Mr. John More of Cross 

in this county. Died. 
It is, of course, imposible to give lists of teachers of all districts 
as they were successively established. One instance, however, 
may find a place here. The town of Alma is not mentioned in the 
first report on the schools of this county. But during the winter 
of 1856 — 57 the first school was taught by Dr. John Ehing, who 
received his certificate of Mr. Philipp Kraft. Both of these gentle- 
men are yet living, Dr. Ehing at the city, Mr. Kraft in the town of 

After Dr. Ehing, C. Moser, jr., kept the ochool and was suc- 
ceeded by Mr. Weisshaupt, who, I believe started the first Singing 
Society in the village. 

In the following table I have endeavored to give the first or 
pioneer districts in every one of the present towns and corpora- 
tions. This was an extremely tedious and in its results very un- 
certain undertaking, since it is now more than twenty, sometimes 
nearly thirty years since schooldistricts were formed, and twenty- 
six years since the old proceedings were" abandoned, so that the 
people have forgotten all about these old occurrences. 

The same may be said in regard to first or pioneer teachers in 
the towns. Few or non^ of them are at present residents of 
the county. Further remarks will be found after the table. 





Alma, City 

Alma, Town 


Buffalo, City 

Buffalo, Town 




Fountain City, Village. . 


- Glencoe 










Year of 























Dr. John Ehing. , 
J. K. Benedict. . . 
Fannie Bishop... 

L. Kesslnger 

George Harpe» . . 


John Burt 

Miss Emily A. Turner. 

(Mrs. W. H. Church.) 

A Mr. Mead 

/Miss Olive Hatch ... 
l Mrs. Dan. Gilman 

A Mr. Stone 

John Mulr 


John J. Senn 

Miss Ellzabetn Gilman 
Thomas Fisher 

J. P. Remloh 

f Miss Achsa HlUiard 

1 Mr. H. Adams 

J Miss Rachel Evans. . 
I Mrs. J. Burgess 

Miss Minna Kirchner. 
Mrs. Ohas. Hohmann. 


See above. 

In Mill Creek Valley. 
At Klein's. 

In Lenhard's old log 

At Walker's Corners. 

. On Baertsch's land. 

. .In Bennett VaUey. 

See above. 

Near the mill. 

On Cowie'a land. 

Then Dist. No. 3 of 

On Sect. 30 T. 24 R. 13. 

Near the mill. 

In the present village. 
.Waste Valley Dist. 
.... Dauuser Valley. 

Pace's Dist. 

In Cascade. 

On Baeohler's land. 

Most statements in the above table were made up from in- 
quiries of old residents. In some places nothing could be ob- 
tained, except the statements in the Atlas of Buffalo and Pepin 
County, a very unreliable authority, havjng been hastily compiled 
by strangers from hearsay, as far as the historical part is con- 
cerned. In the town of Gilmanton, for instance, the "Atlas" says 
as stated in the table. But all inquiries on the point leave it to be 
inferred that, possibly the first school might have been taught on 
the west ade of Beef River in Gilman Valley. One authority 
says that JMiss Dora Cook, now Mrs. John Hunner of Eau Claire, 
taught the first school on the east side in a little loghouse between 
Mr. R. E. Fuller's and J. M. Hutchinson's. (This is now in Dist. 


No. 4 of Gilmanton,) Afterwards the little schoolhouse was built 
near Gilmanton and a Mr. Peso taught there first; after him Miss 
Georgiana Lockwood, afterwards Mrs. G. W. Giltcey; after her 
Albert Southworth of Mondovi, brother of Ryland Southworth, 
and after him Miss Louisa Lockwood. 

I can and will not dispute any authority, but quote the in- 
stance as one of the perplexities experienced in collecting informa- 
tion. So I was in doubt about the first school in the Town of 
Lincoln, it being possible that the School District at Mattausch's 
having existed at about tjie same time, if not earlier than the 
lower district, now called No. 1. I have, however, good authority 
for stating that in 1863 Mr. John Mair taught the first school in 
the latter district, the schoolhouse standing on the land of F. F. 
Schaaf between his own house and. that of M. Profitlich. In 
District No. 2 the first school was taught in the house now belong- 
ing to M. Hammer, and the first teacher was Miss Henrietta 
Ainsworth. In consideration of the above circumstances, which 
must be applicable to most towns I • beg the pardon of every 
reader, who might feel slighted or neglected by being omitted 
from the table. It will not be expected that I should give the 
time of formation and the first teacher of every district. 

So far we have been considering public education, or educa- 
tion in the public schools with' all its concomitant arrange- 
ments. There are, however, some schools not of a public char- 
acter in regard to their support, though, perhaps, not exclusive 
with regard to the admission of pupils. We designate all'schools 
not public in our sense of the word as private schools. In this 
county the private schools are all denominational, but may be 
divided into three classes; 1. Those with a full course of instruc- 
tion, similar to that of the public schools, including religion as one 
of the important branches-of this course. 

2. Those entirely devoted to religious instruction, cultivating 
a foreign language for, the purpose of instruction in religion and 
using rituals and songbooks. 

3. Sabbath Schools of different denominations, sqme using, 
the German, others the English lan^guage, instruction being mostly 
of a religious kind. 

Of the first class are the^ 



These schools have a full course of instruction, using, how- 
ever, books which do not conflict with the doctrines of the church. 
I believe that there is, at least for girls, a course of instruction in 
such manual labor as may be useful in households, as sewing, knit- 
ting and ornamental work. There has never been any complete 
and reliable report on the attendance of these schools, and in the 
absence of such I forbear further discussion. The German lang- 
uage, I understand, is an essential branch of instruction in thes'6 
schools. A boarding institute is connected with each school. 
Temporary private schools are held every year during the latter 
part of the winter and in early spring in all the churches of this 
denomination for the instruction of those who desire to go to the 
first communion. TheSe latter schools do really belong to thQ 
second class. 

Of the second class are the 


Rev. F. A. Moeller who furnished me the history of the Nor- 
wegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of which an extended 
account will be found under the head of "Religion," says of these 

"The above mentioned four congregations are dividfed into 
school districts according to local convenience. In these districts 
there is annually a religious school taught for a few weeks or even 
for three months." 

He names as Teachers in those schools S. Odegard, John Am* 
dal, Lars Kjos, John T. Ness, A. Hillestad, E.' N. Bloom, and M. 
Garthe; he also mentions some others, but not by name. 

These schools begin by teaching readine; and writing the Nor- 
wegian language, as all the religious books used are in that kng- 
uage. Sometimes it happens that these Norwegian schools, as 
they are popularly called, interfere with the attendance in the 
public schools, and I remember at least once that I blundered into 
one of them, intending to visit the public school in the school 
house in which it was kept. 

To the same class belong. 


Tbey may be found in all the churches of the- denomination: 
ftbout Easter time, and serve as preparations for the confirmation 


of those members of such churches, who desire to pass through 
this ceremony. I think that, Rev. Nommensen, when he was in 
charge of his church at Fountain City, maintained a school with a 
more extended course of study, but I am not precisely informed 
about the facts in the case. 

The third class comprises the 


They are fully delineated above. 


There is one kind of instruction, which though found in all 
parts of the county to a certain extent, is not furnished by schools, 
and not usually in classes. This is the instruction in Music. 
Bands and their members usually receive instruction by their 
leaders, at least in the performance of a limited number of pieces, 
further instruction being only incidental, notes and musical nota- 
tion being only used as an auxiliary for the special purpose. 

But everybody is aware that all the music is not made by 
the bands. Instruction in playing the piano and the organ has 
become necessary and is performed by numerous persons. Form- 
erlj' these instructors, almost exclusively ladies, came from abroad 
and staid only for a short time. At present " home talent " is 
patronized. Some of this home talent has been improved and 
developed by a course of instruction at Milwaukee and other places. 

Instruction in playing the violin, the flute and the guitar and 
other instruments is sometimes given by gentlemen having ac- 
quired some skill in performing on the instruments named. 

Of the "Arts" music is the one most practiced, the number of 
performers being very numerous, especially among the ladies. 

Of other arts, especially the 


we can not boast of much progress. The only success in quality 
is in Photography. In former times this art was practiced mainly 
by itinerant artists, who withjtheir outfits went from place to place, 
and whose performances were, to say the best of them, mediocre. 
In 1876 Gerhard Gesell established his gallery at Alma, he being 
even at that time a man of taste and ambitious of improvement, 
and he may now be ranked as as a first-class artist, who would 
certainly compare favorably with those of his profession in much 
larger places than we can boast of in our county. It might be 


questioned what photography had to do with education, but as it 
is one of the graphic arts, and as it has considerable influence in 
educating the taste of the public, I think I need not apologize for 
introducing it in this place. Drawing and painting have not yet 
made any progress among us, though the first should and could 
very well be introduced into the public schools as a regular dis- 
cipline or branch of study. In both of these arts I have endeav- 
ored to transmit what little of knowledge and accomplishment I 
.possessed , and there have been a few willing to learn. Of late a 
number of dilettanti, mostly working up patent processes, have 
done their best to spoil the public taste, if possible. They were 
all "professors," a title with which the people of this country are 
very ready to decorate any one, who knows something, or pre- 
tends to know, what not everybody has learned. Typographic 
art will be considered in the chapter on the " Press." 

To the question: "What is the result of all our educational 
endeavors, establishments and arrangements ?" We may fairly an- 
wer: "Success." It is true we have not yet produced any intel- 
lectual prodigies, no genius in art or science has been awakened 
among us, but we have thoroughly formed the common mind and 
prepared it for the purposes of a c mmon life, and we have opened 
the road to higher pursuits. It is true that our young men have 
still to attend business colleges to acquire a business education 
but it is also true that they enter these colleges so well prepared 
that they are soon able to graduate with honor and to assume res- 
ponsible situations. 

It might be objected that some one or another discipline or 
branch of study has not always been properly taught, or even 
totally omitte in the schools. This complaint has frequently 
been made with regard to writing, or, as it is usually styled, pen- 
manship, but our schools are not to blame for the prejudice of the 
people of some sections of the county, who, for instance, delight 
to see the itinerant writing master come among them to dazzle 
them with his curvatures and flourishes, with his birds and other 
impossible animals on paper, and who always insist that writing 
was not, and could not be, well taught in school. Where such 
prejudices do not exist the people demand, that the teacher should 


Both bj' precept and example teach writing, and they have their 
will and .results are as good as in other branches. 

Higher schools than the highest departments in our graded 
schools not existing in our county, such schools in other counties 
were frequently attended by pupils from this county, and in 
former times Galesville University had some influence on Buffalo 
County education, as being the preparatory school of a number of 
our teachers. My first contact with pupils and graduates of said 
university produced a very unfavorable impression upon me^ 
which has not yet been entirely eradicated, although a few in- 
stances have come to my knowledge, which prove, that the school 
might produce good results. 

Very similar impressions were produced upon me by what I 
saw of some of the pupils of the Arcadia High School. I hope to 
be spared a similar experience with the pupils of our own incip- 
ient high school at Alma. 

I really think that this chapter on education, as far as schools 
are concerned, is long enough. But, as I have already intimated, 
education does neSt end in the schoolroom. It is continued through 
life involuntarily and intentionally. All must and do learn invol- 
untarily, but only the dull and stupid learn in no other way. In- 
tentional study and self-education take so many devices, ways and 
means, that no book could ever account for all. But the greatest 
factor in education after school years is certainly the " press." 

Of this we will speak in an other chapter as far as our own 
publications arc concerned, and perhaps a little, also, on other pa- 
pers maost in circulation among our people. 

Other factor are the Pulpit, Debating Societies, Lectures, Ex- 
hibitions, Theaters and Concerts, and finally Libraries. Ot the 
first, the ipulpit, we] will speak under the head of "Religion." 
Debating'Sooieties have from time to time been slarted and k(ipt 
up at different points -with some temporary success, but being 
u.sually the -fruits of some enthusiasm and rivalry among young 
people of a town or school district, they always expire naturally 
by the changes that are taking place among the participants, who 
are either scattered by emigration or become dissatisfied with their 
juvenile efforts. 

Lectures do not seem to take gieatly among our people, which 
may also be said of exhibitions. Theaters and concerts are some- 


times well patronized, especially those gotten up by , home talent. 
None of our larger-, places are, however,, large enough to encourage 
troupes of the better sort to venture into - them, and so we can 
hardly pretend to an educational character in theatrical perform- 
ances by traveling combinations. 

Of public libraries we have in fact but one deserving, any 
particular notice. It belongs to the 


of Gilmanton. The idea of starting a library in that town seems 
to have originated with Mr. Sidney Howard,.whp donated the sum 
of $500.00 as a fund the interests of which were to be used for the 
purchase of suitable books. It is stated that the scheme went 
into operation in 1864, and I think there is also a membership fee 
of one dollar to be paid by each person who .wishes to be entitled 
to the privileges of the institution. The use of books is put up 
at auction if there is a particular demand for- certain works, other 
fees are not collected. , This library is doing much for the dissem^ 
ination of good literature. , Ten years ago there were abojit five 
hundred volumes, but there must now be more. 


existed at different times and places, some merely for social inter- 
course and as a means of acquiring fluency in expressing thoughts 
and opinions, others with a view to permanency and to furnishing 
materials for instruction. AH these societies labored under the 
mistake that a "Budget" was a necessary appendage to each of 
them, and that the said "Budget',' could be kept free from gossip 
and annoying small talk.. The people of the present time, especi- 
ally young people, see, and have seen, all their lives, a newspaper 
in every nook of the country, and as everybody is more compe- 
tent than any editor to get up a paper, a paper, yclept "Budget," 
is gotten up, and edited in turn by every member. The Budget 
soon manages to stir up a rumpus, and society and literary effort 
collapse together. We had such a society here in Alma, for some 
time quite a creditable affair, and of laudable intentions. After 
it had met its fate, the books accumulated in its libraiy were de- 
.posited in the library of the school district, where, I hope, they 
will be properly taken care of and used to advantage. A similar 
society was lately in operation at Fountain City. It was founded 
in 1879, Miss Cora Cla,rk, president. From a program before m» 


it appears that the customary exercises were practiced, including 
singing, reading, declamation, news of the week and debates. It 
Continued for five or six years. 

Some of the singing societies have also small circulating 
libraries for their own members. See "Public Societies." 

The professional lecturer has; as previously stated, not met 
with any marked success among us, whether he spoke in English 
or in German. One kind of lectures, however, has found attentive 
listeners among the class for whom it was intended. This is the 
Agricultural Institutes, which perhaps should have been mentioned 
under the head of "Agriculture" but may also find its place here. 
These institutes are always kept in Mondovi, and as I am not now 
a farmer and living about twenty -five miles from the place named, 
I may be excused from saying much about the matter. 

Having always maintained, that, as the teacher, so is the 
school, I am naturally interested in everything calculated to im- 
prove the intellectual standard of the teachers. The last import- 
ant movement in that direction was the " Reading Circle." Its 
main intention was to furnish to teachers suitable books at re- 
duced prices, and to induce them to assemble at convenient pla- 
ces and times to discuss the matters contained in these books. It 
was in the fall of 1886 when operations were first begun in this 
county and some progress was made during that winter, which 
was continued during the winter of 1886 and 87. The severity of 
the two winters, the particular configuration of our county, and, 
it must be said, though it may be disagreeable) the indolence of 
many teachers, especially those who were most in need of the pro- 
posed improvement, prevented the success to which the scheme 
seems to be fairely entitled. 

With some of our teachers there is little or no danger that it 
wiil ever be said of them, as of Horace Greely : " He is a self-made 
man and admires his creator," although I wish that every one of 
them were entitled to the vanity implied in the quotation. For, 
say whatever you may, every educated person is to a certain ex- 
tent or degree " self-made" in mentality, and to that degree he or 
she is useful or at least original. 

Perhaps I ought to apologize for the personal, or as some peo- 
ple may be pleased to call it, egotistical, remarks in this chapter. 


The reader, however, will excuse, if he should notice, this personal 
tone or color, if he remembers that I was educated for a school- 
master, and that for so many years I have stood at the head of 
educational affairs in this county. I do not care much for politics, 
being therein of a most uncomfortable independence, but on edu- 
cation, public, private or otherwise, I am very earnest and decided, 
without wishing to impose upon others. 

With the above I meant to close the chapter, on Education, 
but I found that something important had been overlooked, that 
is the "Educational Column " in the Alma Express, afterwards 
and now the Buffalo County Journal. More or less regular com- 
munications appeared in that paper soon af